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A ‘hit’ prescription

Ajmal Ameer is on a roll, he tells Prema Manmadhan


The doctor is in. Well, not quite. It’s the actor who’s in really. Ajmal Ameer, who worked hard in Ukraine to qualify as a doctor, strayed on to the ramp in his student days and from there, fell straight into filmdom. There, on a platter, he found the lead role of ‘Pranayakalam,’ a film in the romantic genre. Today, Ajmal, the boy from Aluva, is on a roll and is at home in Kollywood too.

Mysskin introduced him to Tamil cinema in ‘Anjathey’ where he played an angry young man. “More than a director he is a big brother and good friend to me. It was my luck that I worked with him. He taught me how to select good films and more technical details about filmmaking. While Udhay Ananthan (‘Pranayakalam’) taught me the ABC of acting, Mysskin turned me into a matured actor,” says Ajmal.

‘Madambi’ is his latest release in Malayalam. Ready-to-be-released is the Tamil ‘TN 09 AL 4777,’ where he plays John Abraham’s role in the remake of the Bollywood hit, ‘Taxi No 9211.’ It is directed by debutant Laxmikant. It has music by Vijay Antony. “Pasupathy, Meenakshi, Simran are my co-artistes. Right after this I am doing a film for Sathyam Cinemas & Real Images, which will be directed by Nandhini, a debutante director. It’s a rib-tickling romantic comedy. Mani Sharma is the music director and this will be on the floors by October 10,” says a happy Ajmal. That this movie will be a bilingual project in Tamil and Telugu really thrills him.

Debutant directors

Maiden directors seem to seek him out for the lead, for early next year he has been signed on to do the movie for yet another debutant director, Venkat (co-director of director Saran, who made films like ‘Gemini’, ‘Vasool Raja MBBS’). It’s an action melodrama. So no Malayalam films in the offing? “Of course, discussions are on for a Malayalam project, which will begin in March. I have decided to do at least one Malayalam movie every year in spite of being busy in Tamil and Telugu Industry,” Ajmal says.

So has the doctor decided to give up his practice for the silver screen?

“Now, I am living my dream and concentrating only on acting, but will never give up my medical profession because it’s a blessed job. I do have plans to build a hospital of my own later in my home town,” Ajmal discloses. This brings the mood to the family picture. “Vappachi is an advocate and Ummachi a homemaker.” And then he drops a bombshell: “Yes, I am married and I think she is the prettiest girl I have ever seen!” His two-year-old, Aalin Zeyyan, is Zaan to Ajmal. While one brother is working, the other has just finished his MCA.

From a chocolate boy character, Ajmal changed overnight to the angry young man and anti-hero image in ‘Anjaathey.’ In ‘Madambi’ also, the character had different shades. What image does he really like?

“I will never stick to an image… I enjoyed being the romantic boy in ‘Pranayakaalam’ and the angry young man in ‘Anjaathey’... I also loved the central character in ‘Madambi’ because it had the shades of a romantic boy next door and the villain. I was happy with all these characters, and by God’s grace, have the freedom to choose characters now.”

Ajmal is based in Chennai these days and he finds quite a few differences in the working styles of both these industries.

“Malayalam films are made in a short span of time so as to cater to the smaller area of business whereas Tamil films take their own time as there is a vast area of business, so they have big budgets. In Malayalam, producers play safe and are after superstars and stick to success formulas whereas Tamil producers dare to welcome new actors and directors and attempt to make experimental films…so they also treat a new actor with respect,” feels Ajmal.

His favourite actors are Mammootty, Mohanlal, Kamal Haasan, Aamir Khan, Robert de Niro and Al Pacino. And among his hobbies is watching films besides listening to music, language and genre is not a barrier.

Wardrobe preferences?

Branded T-shirts and jeans (Spykar, Lee, Levis, Louise Phillipe) and ‘mad after latest shoes’ (Adidas), goggles (Armani, Versace).

So, with filmdom taking him on lease, the doctor and the hospital in his home town will have to wait!

Eat right

Right from the days Ajmal walked the ramp, he has been very careful about his body. Ajmal shares the secret of how he keeps his body fit with the readers of The Hindu MetroPlus Weekend:

Keep 30 per cent of your stomach free always. Have a light dinner before 7 pm. For breakfast, he has fruit, oats, egg whites. Lunch is anything except fried stuff. Once a week, he freaks out on fried food and anything else he fancies.

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