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Mr. Reliable of Mollywood

SARASWATHY NAGARAJAN

As ‘City of God' is set to reach theatres, Indrajith, who plays one of the lead characters in the film, opens up about his career and his plans.



Living his role: Indrajith as Swarnavel in ‘City of God.'

Indrajith has turned out to be one of the most consistent performers in Malayalam cinema. Since his debut in Vinayan's ‘Ooomappenninu Uriyadappayyan' in 2000, his roles, ranging from that of a villain to a comedian, have helped him escape the image trap that has sunk the career of many a talented actor. While several films starring the biggies in Mollyyood sink without a trace, Indrajith has figured in significant roles in many blockbusters. Yet the success of those films has not given the techie-turned-actor the boost that should have been the rightful due of an actor of his calibre. A film starring Indrajith in the lead is yet to click in a big way at the box office.

“I have wondered about it too,” admits Indrajith. “Where are the scripts and directors for an actor like me? I have always given my best to all my characters and some of those roles have proven my acting talents beyond doubt,” adds Indrajith.

Although ‘Race,' his first film in 2011, did not have a golden run, he has high hopes for Lijo Jose Pellissery's ‘City Of God,' starring Indrajith and Prithviraj as the heroes.

“My character Swarnavel is unique in Malayalam cinema. He is a migrant labourer from Tamil Nadu who stays in Kochi and works in the construction industry. The film is about three youngsters whose lives crisscross and intersect as they go about the business of life. Swarnavel speaks only Tamil and so do the people around him. It is almost like a Tamil film in a Malayalam movie. The non-linear narrative gives it an exciting edge as the story weaves in and out of situations, with every scene giving a new perspective or a twist to the tale of three youngsters in a metro, ” explains Indrajith.

Parvathy, Rima Kallingal and Swetha Menon are the heroines. Indrajith has been cast opposite Parvathy.

Calling himself a director's actor, Indrajith says he enjoys working with directors who are good communicators as he prefers to portray a character the way the director visualises it. “For instance, in this film, I used to talk to Lijo almost everyday. That helped me understand how he wanted me to breathe life into the brusque and blunt Swarnavel. I tend to get confused if the director does not explain what is his take on a character. I find that I do my best with a director who has a clear picture of the story in his mind,” says Indrajith.

The extra mile

When Lal Jose was shooting for ‘Chandupottu,' Indrajith used to frequent the location even when he did not have a shoot to understand the story and the way the characters jelled in the movie. That kind of attitude and willingness to go that extra mile work might explain why he is Lal Jose's favourite actor. The director is well known for his ability to etch out a character for his actors and get the best from his cast. “Lal always keeps telling me that years later, cineastes would be forced to acknowledge the astounding variety of my roles,” points out the actor.

Among Indrajith's roles, Varadanuuni in ‘Nayakan,' Lijo's maiden directorial venture, remains his favourite. The actor even learnt Kathakali to do justice to his character. However, the actor is justifiably disappointed that the viewers and the critics failed to notice the hard work that the team had to put into the film.

Another film that Indrajith is banking on is V.K. Prakash's ‘Karmayogi,' a take on ‘Hamlet,' one of the most complex of Shakespeare's plays. In the pipeline are films that again have Indrajith bringing to life very different characters. On one hand there is ‘Three Kings,' a slapstick comedy that requires viewers to leave their logic at home, and on the other, there is an adaptation of ‘Macbeth.' He is also been cast in Akku Akbar's and Renjan Pramod's films.

Direction is on the cards but not in the immediate future. Not a surprising choice for a film buff whose hobby is watching films and studying the technical side of cinema. And how about singing for films? “I have already sung for four or five movies and I have always said that I would love to sing. But right now, my focus is on my films.”

The never-say-die actor is certain that the film that will take him right to the top is just round the corner. With his hard work and positive vibes, it should not be too late before he gets that dream role and film.

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