It is not often that we get to see an actor who performs roles that have shades completely different from each other — but also fits into those characters perfectly. As he gears up to have his first straight Tamil release this year, Nivin Pauly talks to DC about the love for Premam that still lingers among the TN audience, his plans for New Year and what he expects from 2017.
New Year Resolutions
I always start my New Year at church with my family. I see it as a fresh beginning — like a new chance we get to renew our lives, perhaps? Starting it by praying gives me a lot of hope for the future.
I have a bad history with resolutions! I don’t think I have kept up even one of them so far. Once, I promised to myself that I would wake up at 6 am everyday — it didn’t even last for a week. (laughs)
An unconventional start
My next Tamil film is an adaptation of Ulidavaru Kandanthe, a super-hit Kannada film. I play the role of Richie, a gangster, in this crime drama. In the original, Rakshit Shetty played that role with so much swagger — it looked almost effortless!
Director Gautham Ramachandran and I had many discussions before finalising the script for this film. I think this might be a good start for my first straight Tamil film.
The Premam Effect
Although Neram had a decent run, I wished to deliver a blockbuster here — but never did I imagine I’d achieve that through a Malayalam film! Even in Kerala, the film ran for only around 100 days, but here it was 256 days — which still feels surreal! I watched the film here on it’s 222nd day, and I was thrilled to see the audiences’ love for the film.
A ‘fan’ of tamil films
The first Tamil film I remember watching is Thalapathi. I held on to the film in all formats — tapes, VCDs, digital. I’ve always followed Tamil films, and thanks to trends like bilinguals and crossovers, actors like me get an opportunity to work in this industry.
I was a tad apprehensive about the time needed to complete our film, but Gautham and his team had it all well planned out, so we wrapped up the shoot in about 55 days.
Friendship with kolly actors
Besides working with Tamil actors like Bobby Simha, I also got to meet stars I admire — like Dhanush and Vikram at award functions. I happened to become friends with them, and they are wonderful, warm people and make me feel at home every time I am here.
Four of my films have been remade in Tamil and Telugu. Although I haven’t seen any of these remakes, I do feel happy that I’ve been a part of good films.
It’s nice to know that some scripts still leave behind a mark after their theatrical run this way, so I have to admit, it is quite flattering.
Handling female attention:
I think it happens every time a new set of actors come up — there is a new craze, a lot of adulation and then another set of actors arise. That’s all there is to it. Initially, my wife used to be uncomfortable with all the attention, but now she has gotten used to it!
Love for Chennai
I simply love coming to Chennai. My wife always complains saying, “You literally run at the mention of Chennai — I wonder what it is about that place!” I love how everyone is active here 24/7. Even at 5 am, there are people going about their day. Also I love how respectful and polite Chennaiites are.
Wishlist for 2017
I want to travel a lot next year. I have been planning it for so long, I hope it happens next year. I want to take my son to Disneyland. I also want to go on a solo trip, but honestly, I’m not too positive about the chances of that happening!
Being a family man
When I’m away from family for too long, I miss my son, Dhaveedh a lot. There are times when he imitates my characters at home. For a while, he tried to be George from Premam, tying a towel around his waist. Now he is in Puli Murugan mode and told me, “Appa, I want to meet Mohanlal!”
A promising line-up in 2017
I have signed two films to be directed by Prabhu Radhakrishnan and Surya Balakumaran. I am also super-excited to join hands with Anurag Kashyap. Apart from these, there will also be a film with Gautham Menon soon; discussions are on, and something concrete might fall in place next year.
Apart from this, I am also thinking of doing a film in Telugu. I have only listened to the script, but I am yet to take a call.
Best New Year: The one last year, at Dubai, where we witnessed the famous fireworks display.
Worst New Year: Has to be the one time I decided to party instead of going to church. We chose the wrong pub in Bengaluru — it was too crowded, and cops had to come in. Not a good memory.
Sexiest actors in India: Deepika Padukone and Hrithik Roshan.
If not an actor: I do have a knack for business.
Career wishlist: To work with Mani Ratnam, and maybe even Aamir Khan.
One regret in life: I wish I took better care of my physique. I will work on a six-pack soon!