Nivin Pauly, made his debut in Malayalam cinema with Malarvaadi Arts Club in 2010 and ever since there has been no looking back. In a short span he has completed 25 five films with back to back hits like Thattathin Marayathu, Neram, 1983, Oru Vadakkan Selfie, Mili, Bangalore Days and the blockbuster Premam. Action Hero Biju is the latest entry in the bandwagon. The movie has been critically acclaimed for its realistic take on the life of a police officer. Nivin Pauly, who turns producer for the first time shares his thoughts and experiences. Excerpts from the interview.
Action Hero Biju is your second venture with Abrid Shine after 1983. What inspired you to take up this role?
It is a very realistic police story involving the life of sub-inspector, Biju Poulose. Most films portray police stories as either suspense thrillers with the police chasing a villain or the officer is projected as a superhero. But Action Hero Biju has tried to capture the role of an officer just as it is in real life with all his limitations and weaknesses. It can’t get any more real than this. It has a very different and new perspective unlike the police stories that have been told before. Another highlight of the movie is that, it has music by Jerry Amaldev, the musician who after a long hiatus, took up this project on our persistent request.
What special preparations did you undertake to essay this role?
Apart from the physical training and workouts, I actually spent a considerable amount of time at police stations talking to officers, trying to understand the real feel of the place at close quarters. I watched their daily routine, the cases they undertook and how they went about solving them. As the film demanded my role to be lifelike, I needed to clearly understand their behaviour, body language, thinking, attitude and mannerisms before taking up the role.
How was your experience as the producer? And do you plan to take up direction?
Direction! No, definitely not for now. I am happy being an actor. Donning the hat of a producer was a tough job and a different experience as it involved watching the crew’s requirements, keeping track of the finances, and also perfecting my role as an actor. But it was a tremendous learning experience.
Most of your movies have team-oriented story lines with a familiar set of actors like Vineeth Sreenivasan or Aju Varghese. Is this your comfort zone?
I have done three movies which Vineeth Sreenivasan directed and worked on another movie which was scripted by him. He introduced me to the industry and we share a good friendship and smooth rapport at work. In terms of team-oriented story lines, it just happened that the scripts that I found interesting were mostly team-oriented and I enjoy working on such themes.
Inspite of Mili and Om Shanthi Oshana being movies that were mainly women-centric, your role won a lot of critical acclaim. What inspired you to take up those roles?
You always come across movies that have men pursuing their love interest. But Om Shanthi Oshana had a totally different storyline where the leading lady was doing that role. Mili, too had a very different style of narration. Both the stories were simple, familiar and yet had a new perspective which appealed to me. I am open to experimenting and doing different kinds of projects and roles.
Premam had a complete set of new faces and yet it was a block buster that successfully completed 250 days. What is the secret?
Some movies are simply magical. You can’t really put your finger on any particular reason behind its success. But from what I understand, Premam was a movie that the audience could relate to, the scenes, sequences and love stories captured in the movie struck a familiar chord with the audience. As far as new faces, I don’t think that has ever been factor to ponder about. In fact, most of my movies have had new faces. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the actor should be able to identify with the character so as to portray it effectively.
Action Hero Bijuis your 25th movie, how has the journey been so far? Any dream roles?
Yes, this is a very important milestone for me. This movie is also special because it is Pauly Jr. Production’s first venture. I am very happy that the last five years have been very good especially in terms of the movies that did well. There were films that were critically acclaimed and also commercial successes. It’s been hard work but it has paid off. I hope to continue to entertain the audience with more interesting roles. My dream role is to do a role of a villain. I will definitely do it when the right script and director come my way.
You won the Kerala State film award for best actor in 2015 for your work in 1983 and Bangalore Days, the social media proclaimed that you are the next Mohanlal of the Malayalam industry. What do you think of the comparison?
I don’t think anyone can be compared to a star as highly talented as Mohanlal Sir. I am humbled and honoured if the audience felt some of the scenes I enacted resembled or brought back memories of Sir’s work. But I can never even think of comparing myself to him. I am very aware of my own capabilities and weaknesses.
What do you like to do when you are not acting?
I love to read and travel but honestly I have not had the time for any such luxuries in the last five years. It’s just been reading scripts, studying them and shooting all the time. But now, I hope to spend more time doing the things I like to do and travelling to places I have never been to.
What are the projects lined up for 2016?
We have just wrapped up the shooting for the movie Jacobinte Swargarajyam by Vineeth Sreenivasan, it is expected to be a Vishu release. I am also working on a Malayalam movie by Althaf Saleem and another Tamil movie, the names of which are yet to be finalised.