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Back to acting, again!

S. R. ASHOK KUMAR

Interview ‘Suttapazham’ will mark Mohan’s re-entry, after a gap of five years.



a seasoned actor arrives: Mohan

Mohan began his career with the Kannada film, ‘Kokila.’ Till now he has done over a 100 movies. He was shooting for the Tamil film, ‘Suttapazham’ at the same bungalow where the ‘Sivaji’ party was held by direct or Shankar, after the film was completed.

When asked what he was doing during the period he was not acting in films, Mohan replied with a smile that he was busy doing what he did best after acting —producing serials for various TV channels. Excerpts from an interview:

What are your interests?

I like simple things and simple living. I like reading and music and I am often involved in charity work. I also take care to spend time with my family.

Do you remember your first scene?

Certainly. Can one forget it?

I was riding a scooter at Cubbon Park, Bangalore, for ‘Kokila,’ directed by my mentor Balu Mahendra.

Name five of your best films and why you chose them?

I feel my first is the best (‘Kokila’). Then comes ‘Payanangal Mudivathilai’ which got me the Best Actor Award from Filmfare. Next is ‘Idhaya Koil.’ In it my heroine’s name was Gowri, and so is my wife’s. It was a great honour to work with director Sridhar for ‘Thendralae Ennai Thodu.’ Lastly, ‘Rettaival Kuruvi,’ where I again worked with Balu Mahendra.

Why did you accept ‘Suttapazham’ ?

Because of director G. K.’s perseverance. When he first offered me the role, I refused as I was busy producing serials for Sun Network. But he persisted. He even narrated the story to me and I liked what I heard, so I accepted the part. The film is a comedy thriller.

So you are back on the film scene after five years in hibernation?

It was no hibernation. After ‘Anbulla Kadalukku,’ I began producing serials for Sun Network. I did four soaps, ‘Acham Madam Nanam’, ‘Brindavanam’, ‘Hasiyaramayana’ and ‘Selvangal.’ About 200 episodes have been telecast of each serial.

Who are the memorable directors you have worked with?

Balau Mahendra (‘Kokila’), J.Mahendran (my first Tamil film, ‘Nenjathai Killadhae’), Singeetham Srinivasa Rao (‘Gandar Golam’, Telugu, where I played a double role for the first time), Babu (my first Telugu film, ‘Thorapu Velae Railu,’ a remake of ‘Kizhakke Pogum Rail’).

Tell us one interesting anecdote in your life.

I entered films after my stint on stage. I am a student of Benaka, a drama troupe founded by actor-director B.V.Karanth. I was in the play ‘Sidhathe’ with G.V. Iyer and Girish Karnad.

When we were staging the drama, G.V.Sivanand was collecting photographs of all the artists. He told me to give him a photo of mine. When I asked why, he said that Balu Mahendra was planning a Kannada film and so he was searching for new faces. Since I gave a passport-sized photo, a couple of days later he asked me for a bigger one. Later I was told to meet Balu Mahendra, who asked me whether I could act in a movie. I told him I did not have any experience in film acting. He then asked me to get in touch with him after growing a beard, which I did…and I was selected. I played Kamal Haasan’s friend. This was the turning point in my career.

Awards and appreciation must have come your way. Tell us about the memorable ones?

Two are unforgettable. One was MGR, who always called me up after every film of mine was released to encourage me and praise my acting. The other is Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi. I met him on the first day of ‘Pasapparavaigal.’ I spoke to him in Tamil, which surprised him. So he told the director that I should be allowed to speak my dialogue during dubbing. And I did. From then on I have always done my own dubbing and even spoke literary Tamil for ‘Pasamazhai.’ I am grateful to him for this as it brought out a facet of mine. I also created a record in 1984, when 19 films (in which I was the hero) were released and most were hits.

Do you plan to continue in films after ‘Suttapazham’?

Yes, if I am comfortable with the storyline and my character.

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