Post the announcement of National Film Awards, Suraj Venjaramoodu had a doubt whether his phone had any problem. It seemed like a dead phone. After he switched it off for some time and turned it on again, the phone didn’t have rest as it was flooded with calls. It had actually got jammed due to numerous calls made by well wishers at the same time, to congratulate him on his remarkable achievement. It was the first time in his cinema life that Suraj has received so many calls at a time, barring the time when his brother passed away. Suraj speaks to Manorama Online about the changes National Award has brought in his life and about his movie ‘Perariyathavar’ (those who don’t know their names).
About the character in ‘Perariyathavar’?
My character in this movie does not have a name. I have only five or six dialogues in it. Rest of it is all what he sees in the world around him. This simple character is very much related to the life of a common man like me. My experiences when I was a mimicry artist helped me to absorb the character well. Several things I had observed then have become the observations of the character in ‘Perariyathavar’. For that reason, I have extreme gratitude towards Dr Biju, who entrusted me with this character, and Anilkumar who came forward and produced this movie. I dedicate this award to Malayalam language, Malayalam cinema and to my friends from my mimicry life.
Will the National Award in anyway change the common man image of Suraj?
I will always remain the same old Suraj. No changes would happen. Some people asked me if I would do stage shows again. There is no scope of doubt in it; I will go ahead with stage shows, films and mimicry.
Salim Kumar commented that since you have received National Award, you should be careful hereafter with the roles... I came to cinema through comedy roles. For the same reason, I will not keep away from such roles. But, I do wish to do good cinemas. If I get good character roles I love to do it, but I would not be waiting to do such roles alone. The movie which I am currently working on and the one I am about to work on are also comedy cinemas. There’s no chance of me leaving comedy.
How do you see the trend of giving awards to actors who are not superstars? It is only during the final phase of deciding the awards that the jury chairman came to know that I am a comedy artist in Malayalam when somebody mentioned that to him. Until then he was thinking that I am someone who does serious roles here. I consider such comments as greater appreciation than receiving an Oscar. Before the jury, there are no stars; but only actors. There is no such differentiation as comedian or superstar there.
Was this award expected? During the editing of the movie, after watching the last scenes, some people had told me that it would certainly fetch me award. I handed over the shirt and dhothi the character had used in the movie to my mother and asked her to keep it safe, joking that I have to wear it when I go to Delhi for receiving the award. Although I joked to her, it has now turned out to be so.
Would this award bring egotism in you while acting with Mammooty and Mohanlal? I have received only one award. There is so much to learn from them who have bagged the National award 4 or 5 times. So there is no question of egotism. I will perform the responsibility entrusted with me to the best.
Can viewers expect Thiruvananthapuram slang anymore from you? Of course, I am still the same old Suraj.