In 2012, when Vijay Babu acted in a minor role in Ayalum Njanum Thammil, the director of the film, Lal Jose saw in Vijay an actor in the making. He asked Vijay if he was interested in a central character role in his next movie. Surprised and excited, Vijay replied, “A lead role in a film by master filmmaker Lal Jose is something every actor dreams of!” Jose asked him to lose some weight and grow a moustache and beard for the role. Two-and-a-half years later, when the film Nee-Na hit the theatres of Kerala, everyone unanimously applauded the promising new actor and rising star who played the central character.
Vijay Babu is basking in the glow of the success of Nee-Na. His elation at being appreciated for bringing an extra dimension to the film is visible. Settling down to a candid chat, he says one of the best directors in M-Town has given him a big break. “As a boy, I always wanted to be an actor but I put it aside to concentrate on my studies. I also had to stay outside Kerala. Now years later, an opportunity to act has come my way, almost like I was destined to be on the screen. It is a miracle! I am acting in Lal Jose sir’s film, a lucky break that even many other stars have not got!”
For Vijay, Nee-Na was a three-year journey. “I was preparing for Nee-Na from the day he told me that I will have to play the part of Vinay Paniker. In between, I did get a few good roles in films like Monkey Pen. Acting with Lalettan (Mohanlal) in Peruchazhi increased my confidence. It was a huge responsibility to get a lead role with an eminent filmmaker. I tried to get into Vinay Paniker’s character and lived it like how Ganga transformed into Nagavally. And with Lal Jose’ magic, it turned out to be a good one,” he is effusive.
For the past four days, Vijay is busy responding to calls, messages, e-mails, Facebook posts crammed with congratulatory messages.
“Since the day Nee-Na was released, there has been an overwhelming response. I am really grateful to the audience. The calls are more from women. They tell me that Nee-Na is a film for society. People who watch the movie will identify themselves in it — as boss and subordinate, as father and son, or as husband and wife.”
Talking about the boundless confidence that Nee-Na has brought to him, Vijay reveals that if Akashvani, his upcoming film, had been shot later, he would have done even better as an actor. “The experience and confidence I got from Lal Jose sir’s film are beyond words. Working with him gave me the biggest lesson in acting,” he explains. He will be also seen in Double Barrel directed by Lijo Jose Pellisserry that is scheduled for release at the end of this month.
The producer-turned-actor has now decided to take acting more seriously. “Acting is my passion and I will not do it for money. I am now going to focus more on acting and would love to work with some of the best directors in the Industry,” he says with a confident smile....