Two actors, two men we see in many different roles, one mostly as a comedian and the other as a villain, come from an unexpected place in real life. They were teachers. Correction, one of them continues to be. Karamana Sudhir, the tall, tough guy in cinema, is principal at a girls’ school in Thiruvananthapuram, teaching geography to Plus 2 students, when he is not away at a shooting location. Jagadish, however, left his teaching profession he loved, a long time ago, when he came to movies.
“It was only for a limited period, but even now, I have at least two students in any part of the world I go to. The appreciation you get, the thrill of meeting these old students, is the same, or even more than the recognition you get as an actor,” says veteran actor Jagadish. He comes from a family of teachers, his dad a high school head master, one sister is a principal, another a teacher. “In terms of box office hits, I don’t know what ranking I would get. But even the top stars give me respect by virtue of my position as a teacher.” Although he has gone from ‘commerce to comedy’, he jokes.
Sudhir enjoys both, the recognition as an actor when he goes to places, and the greetings from old students. “What you feel when you see your students, as different from fans, is valsalyam, affection.” The teaching pattern has changed over the years, he says. It is not anymore textbook teaching. “A teacher doesn’t tell his student only what is in the textbook, but whatever you see around you. The teacher should be the best student.” Sudhir has been a teacher for 22 years and have seen hundreds of students leave school every year. “The most satisfying moment as a teacher is to watch their happiness when they come to you with certificates and cheerful faces.”