I sat at home doing nothing for a while: Interview with Lalu Alex

Lalu Alex first appeared in a film called ‘Tharoo Oru Janmam Koodi’, but the film for some reason never got released. That could be considered a bad omen for any actor but then Lalu Alex had no such apprehensions. Neither then nor now. He likes to think that he can be counted among some of the luckiest artists in the world. ‘Bro Daddy’ is special to him, as it is directed by the son of one of his favourite co-stars from the industry—Prithviraj, son of Sukumaran. The actor who plays Kurien Maliackal in 'Bro Daddy' talks to Manorama online about the ‘Bro Daddy’ experience and what it feels like to act with two generations of actors.

Being Kurien Maliackal in ‘Bro Daddy’

It was the film’s producer Antony Perumbavoor who first called me and said Prithvi will call after a few minutes to explain in detail about the role. As promised, I got a call from Prithvi who briefed me about the role. I found the story and my role exciting. We somehow managed to finish the shoot without any glitches despite the Covid situation. The film has a fun cosmopolitan style.

After the shoot and dubbing, Prithviraj called and wondered if I can come to the studio— “We might need to reshoot the expression sounds of one or two scenes.” I told him I will be there provided Prithvi also be there to get exactly what he want. Despite his busy schedule, Prithvi came, sat next to me, and guided me. When I looked at the scene, I realised that Prithvi was right—it needed a few tweaks. Eventually, Prithvi got what he wanted.

After the take, Prithvi isn’t someone who just says ok or perfect, he literally rejuvenates the actor in you with his fulsome compliments. I remember Antony Perumbavoor giving me a warm hug after the final shot. That kind of love can be overwhelming. After ‘Bro Daddy’ we all had a meeting with Prithvi, Supriya, and Production controller Harris. Supriya felt it was my film. If my character Kurien Maliackal is appreciated, the whole credit goes to director Prithviraj.

Acting with two generations

I am really lucky, I guess. Once upon a time, there were a lot of films starring Mammootty, Mohanlal, and Lalu Alex. Either I am playing Mammootty’s friend or Mohanlal will be the villain. My relationship with Mammootty and Lal goes beyond the sets, we share a warm bond. Having said that I never cross my boundaries with them. I don’t like that. When I did 'ABCD' with Dulquer Salmaan, he showered with love and respect as he knew the kind of bond I shared with his father. He treated me like his father. I haven’t been able to act with Pranav so far and have only met him once. I consider it my fortune to be acting with the children of Sukumaran and Priyadarshan.

How does he update himself?

I am amazed by the changing technology today. I am still trying to wrap my head around this phenomenon called spot editing. This was unimaginable during those days. Did anyone foresee the invasion of OTT platforms? I try to update myself by watching all the latest films in all languages. Whenever I get called for a new film, I approach it like my first film. The excitement hasn’t waned. My mind is always open to fresh ideas and changes and I work hard to bring that change in my acting.

Acting with Mohanlal after a break

He is one of the most versatile actors in this country. I don’t need to explain anything beyond that. I think Malayalees are aware of his range and talent. He doesn’t need my validation. As I said earlier, our relationship goes beyond work. We are still on backslapping terms with each other.

A lean patch after 2019?

Let me not beat around the bush here. I have no qualms in admitting that I sat at home without any work for a while. During my initial days, I used to frequently visit IV Sasi sir’s home for work. I have asked so many people for work. I consider all my films as god’s gift. When I think of what I was I am lucky to be where I am today. Of course, I have had my share of bad experiences too. That’s life! Am enjoying this life. It feels gratifying to know that at least some people are aware of who I am and what I am. Some people have misunderstandings about me. But I am sure once they know me closely, they will have a change of heart. I think if I had shifted to Ernakulam, I might have been able to do more films.

Why am I not shifting from Piravam?

Piravam is my nostalgia. Everything I love is at Piravam—my school, church, temples, festivals, Piravam bridge, relatives, and friends. Why should I even think of shifting from here? This was a deliberate decision. My love for Piravam cannot be explained. And in case those from the film industry are adamant about shifting me to Ernakulam, if they are willing to take care of the expenses, I might give it a thought (just a joke!).

How do I remain so calm and collected?

I don’t really overthink. Maybe that’s why I am able to remain unflustered. I think no one can attain perfect happiness. The only way to do that is to discard all your worldly pleasures and retire to the forests. I am a contented man. I don’t have the habit of gatecrashing anywhere. I don’t have any airs when I talk to people, and I am also quite capable of making bold decisions in my life. I do try to analyze myself. From my assumption, Lalu Alex isn’t a bad person though in no way perfect.

Now I leave it to you

‘Bro Daddy’ is a perfect family entertainer. You will surely be able to relate to all the characters. They might be people you have seen in your own family. Now I am waiting to hear what you thought of Kurien Maliackal. Over to the audience. 

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