Ayyappanum Koshiyum starring Prithviraj and Biju Menon in the lead roles has proved that a movie doesn’t need unreal or overwhelming characters to grab the attention of the audience. After its theatrical release, the movie was released on Amazon Prime and had been fetching good responses. The lead actors have delivered amazing performances and have rejected the stereotypical binaries of the protagonist and the antagonist. Besides, they are supported by many other characters played brilliantly by a handful of artists.
Among them, the character of CI Satheesh essayed by Anil Nedumangad stands out. CI Satheesh is a friend and a responsible police officer, who at the same time can console and chide Ayyapan and Koshiy.
This police officer is unlike the other stock characters that are usually seen in Malayalam cinema. He has a humane face even though he is strict about imparting justice. Anil Nedumangad has shined as CI Satheesh and has found a solid footing in the movie amidst stalwarts like Prithviraj and Biju Menon. Anil talks about the movie and his character in it.
“Though I have acted in quite a number of films, I usually had only 10 – 15 scenes in them. When I read the script of Ayyappanum Koshiyum, I realized that I had a significant role in it. Mine is a strong character who can even control Ayyappam and Koshiy at times. I had mouthed some of the vital dialogues in the movie. Besides, I had many combination scenes with Prithviraj and Biju Menon; and many dialogues too. I really was tensed during then,” says Anil.
Anil admits that he could film his scenes effortlessly only because he had the support of the lead actors. He had shot for around 25 days for Ayyappanum Koshiyum. CI Satheesh is in fact a major role that he had done in a movie after playing the antagonist in the critically acclaimed Kammattipadam.
Anil’s character appears on screen throughout Ayyappanum Koshiyum. From the scene where Ayyapan arrests Koshiy and brings him to the police station to the climax sequence, Anil’s character is seen on screen. “Prithviraj and Biju Menon do not rely on prompting for dialogue delivery. So, we too had to say our dialogues from memory,” recalls Anil.
The actor says director Sachy had insisted that the actors shouldn’t present the dialogues in the usual cinematic way. “We were instructed that the characters should be essayed with originality and not with any unique rhythm in speech. Biju Menon, Prithviraj and Ranjith are all respected actors and I was obviously tensed acting alongside them. Director Sachy had given me great confidence. When I told him I was a bit tensed he said, ‘you are a good actor. There is nothing to panic. When I told Biju, Prithviraj and Ranjith about casting you, they said Anil is an excellent artist. You should be confident. I am the one who is directing, aren’t I?’” recalled Anil.
No room for errors
Anil is of the opinion that an actor shouldn’t see a role or movie as a challenge. He feels that ‘challenging’ is like getting ready for a war. His idea of acting is to completely transform into the character. “If I prepare too much as an actor, it would divert me from the role because it is well etched in director Sachy’s mind than mine. There is no point in me personally shaping up a character. As an actor I should try and understand the character the way the director has conceived it. Sachy has specially asked me not to by heart the dialogues or come too prepared. He told me not to give my character any particular rhythm and repeat the same mistakes that other actors do. Sachy had asked me to act at the moment in the location,” admits Anil.
For the actor in Anil, it was vital to understand how the character CI Satheesh, perceived by the director, would talk or behave. Besides, he wished not to bother Prithviraj and Biju Menon with too many retakes as they were already working hard with late night shoots and fiery fight sequences. Moreover, Anil calls director Sachy a perfectionist.
“For me the shooting days were like in an acting school. These are the things that make me incredibly happy as an actor. In this movie, almost all the characters mouth dialogues that draw applauses from the audience. All the characters have their unique identities and spaces in this movie,” notes the actor.
“As an actor the movie’s amazing success gives me immense happiness. Ranjith was my senior at the School of Drama. I had always wished to act alongside him in a film. I am receiving positive responses and congratulatory messages through Facebook and WhatsApp. It obviously makes you happy seeing the movie that you acted in becoming a huge success and more people watching it,” Anil concludes with a smile.