Mammootty is an actor who has always dodged the image trap. And he has done that innumerable times in his five-decade-old career. This time he has shed his hero image for 'Puzhu', which is releasing directly on Sony Liv on May 13th. This is also the first time that he is working under a female director in Malayalam cinema. Mammootty talks about being part of films that discuss politics and female perspectives.
PT Ratheena who has directed 'Puzhu' is a newcomer. Do you think twice before giving dates to newcomers? Can women approach you with stories?
Anyone can approach me with stories. So far I haven’t hung a board in front of my house saying women aren’t allowed here. I give dates to new filmmakers with the belief that they will have something new to say. Even during my initial days, I have mostly acted in films by new directors. I agreed to be part of ‘Puzhu’ as I felt it had something new to offer. My character has negative shades. Even before I have done such roles and they have been accepted. I have faith in the audience and vice versa. If the film is good, it will be accepted.
There is a dialogue that says ‘I hate pappa’ in 'Puzhu'. Are you worried about creating a negative image amongst children?
I haven’t really thought that I will be hated because of my character’s negativity. If I had that fear in my mind, I will not be able to act. And if I only accept characters that are perfect in every way then it would only be a wax statue. No one is perfect. We all have our flaws and good points. A film’s negative character can be considered as an example for the audience too...on how not to be.
Micheal appan in 'Bheeshma Parvam' was received well by the audience. Most people think you keep updating yourself with each film.
I am someone who is always trying to update myself. I am constantly thinking about the kind of roles I can do as well as the things I can’t do in cinema. About what all I can do to better myself as an actor. Even before I have attempted such reinventions as an actor. But if they didn’t get noticed, I would just like to call it my ill luck.
Most often it is your films that talk for you. Does that mean the characters are also talking for you?
My characters' opinions aren’t my opinions. Cinema should be seen only as cinema. I am not someone who wants to project cinema in any other way. You can find many positives and negatives in cinema. However, whatever is there in the cinema is not my opinion.
Would negative characters affect your image?
I have always aspired to be a good actor. That is my only image. You can’t remain a hero or superstar all through your career. That will keep changing. But an actor will always be an actor. This is something I have always maintained right from the beginning of my career, that I only want to be known as a good actor. Even when you watch my old interviews I have said this. Even now I am striving to be a good actor.
Do you analyze films as new and old ones?
During every period, cinema was always new. It so happened that even more new films kept coming.