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From villain to chocolate boy

Actor Prithiviraj has instantly carved his niche in Kollywod as well, writes G. PRASAD

Photo: Special Arrangement

Cheerful Committed to the core

Prithviraj has managed what many other heroes from Kerala could not — gaining a firm foothold in Kollywood. And that too after getting introduced to the Tamil audience in a negative role through the film ‘Kana Kandein.’

Educated audience

The actor was daring enough to do a villain after having played hero in Malayalam cinema earlier, thanks to his crave for challenges. “You have to give credit to the Tamil audience. They are educated enough to judge an actor by his calibre. My subsequent films as hero won the acceptance of the people as well,” he says.

Prithviraj is also surprised by the fact that none of the directors approached him to play villain after ‘Kana Kandein.’ Is that because of his chocolate boy looks? “No, I don’t think so,” he denies.

Prithviraj turned hero in Kollywood with the film ‘Parijatham,’ directed by Bhagyaraj. From then on, it has been a successful journey for the young actor. “It was a great opportunity to work with a seasoned director like Bhagyaraj. He saw my performance in ‘Kana Kandein’ and through his experience perhaps sensed that I could make a hero in Kollywood too,” he recollects.

As hero

‘Parijatham’ also marked the beginning of Prithviraj-Prakash Raj friendship. The duo worked in the memorable project, ‘Mozhi.’

“Prakash is one person who trusts his instincts. I am not sure whether Prakash had watched my earlier films but told me during a chat at the sets of ‘Parijatham,’ that I would perfectly suit the lead role of his next venture ‘Mozhi.’ He was right, I suppose.”

‘Mozhi,’ directed by Radha Mohan and produced by Prakash Raj for Duet Movies with Prithviraj and Jyothika as the lead pair was critically acclaimed and also was a box-office success. “I am proud and happy to be part of a fantastic project. We had a great team for the film and all credit should go to the producer and director for the worthy effort,” he says.

The duo came together again in ‘Velli Thirai’ and is working in ‘Abiyum Nanum.’ “We share many common interests — cinema, and books. What I like most about Prakash is his willingness to give 100 percent in whatever he does, be it acting or even while throwing a party. His passion and commitment towards work is amazing,” he says.

His accent

Though the Malayalam accent is evident in Prithviraj’s Tamil, still the actor dubs for himself and is very particular about it. He also admits that he is working a lot on improving his diction. “My only condition before signing up a movie is that I should dub for myself. I feel that if someone else does the job my individuality is lost,” he explains.

Prithviraj firmly believes his characters shouldn’t be bigger than the films in which he performs and also wishes to avoid time tested formula based flicks. “An actor is only a part of the movie. I would rather prefer to play a small role in a quality movie instead of doing a big role in a bad film,” he clarifies.

Prithviraj confides that Tamil film industry is going through its best phase what with lot of talent emerging in various fields. “Apart from actors, the industry has some excellent young directors, music directors, cinematographers and many more. Kollywood is certainly a happening industry these days.”

Present project

His current project in Tamil, ‘Ninaithale Inikkum,’ is a remake of the Malayalam super-hit ‘Classmates.’ The movie is a twin-hero subject played by Prithviraj and Shakti, while National Award winner Priya Mani is the female lead. Debutant Kumar wields the megaphone. “I played the same role in the Malayalam version as well, but now I am doing it under the perspective of a different filmmaker. I could feel a lot of changes.”

Prithviraj has signed up for a Mani Ratnam film and rumours are that he plays a villain in the flick. “I am excited about working in a Mani Ratnam’s movie. But I can’t say anything about the role, it is kept strictly under the wraps,” smiles the handsome actor.

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