It was when his close friend Lijo Jose Pellissery wielded megaphone for his debut film Nayakan that Chemban Vinod Jose got a call to face the camera for the first time. Since then, he has been getting back-to-back offers from villain to supporting to comic roles. His Angamaly dialect also helped him catch the attention of film buffs which gradually made him one of the most sought after actors of M’town.
Now this Anagamalykkaran has donned a new role — that of a screenwriter with Angamaly Diaries that narrates the story of his hometown. In fact, it was with a plan to step into direction that Chemban started writing the screenplay of this film. “But later I understood that I had to dedicate around one year, if I go for direction. That means I have to take a break from acting. To be frank, I had no plans to become a director or screenwriter when I came to the industry. I am happy as an actor and I am enjoying what I do. It is a time when many good actors are making entry to films. So I thought it would be better to continue acting than getting into direction,” says Chemban.
There is yet another factor that forced him to drop his direction plans. “When I completed the script, I understood that I am not a better bet to direct this movie. It was then I approached my friend Lijo with this subject. When I narrated the first 20 minutes of the story, he easily understood the mood of the story and he asked about it, in order to confirm, whether it was the same that I intended. As he became more interested, I continued the narration. That is how he became the director of the film I scripted,” he recollects.
But why Lijo Jose Pellissery? He says, “Like me, he is also well-aware about Angamaly though he hails from Chalakudy. His hometown is not far from Angamaly though there is a slight difference in the culture of both the places. That was one of the main reasons. Along with that, he is my close friend and I have acted in all his movies. It is easy for us to share our ideas and we both understand easily what the other one is trying to convey. To be frank, he has given us a good output which was more than what I had picturised in my mind.”
One of the highlights of Angamaly Diaries is the characterisation. “Each and every character is real, but the names are different. The real persons with such names have different jobs. There are people with names like Kanakuna, Kunjjootty, Parippu and 10 ml in Angamaly. For eg, 10 ml is my friend’s relative. It is the name my friend uses to refer to him. I do not know whether he is popular in that name. While 10 ml in the film is a merchant, the real life 10 ml is an employee. Like that, we have used many real incidents in the films. But as a writer, I have extended as well as edited such incidents to create this story,” he says.
As an actor, 2016 witnessed the release of three films with Chemban as the hero. Are more such films coming up? “Out of these three, two films came out as what was narrated in the script. But the makers of one film did not do the project as they discussed during the pre-production. So I thought it would be not fair taking such a risk. I am not adamant about doing hero roles. So I avoided many projects which offered me hero roles. If any film comes with a role that suits my look, I will think about it,” says the actor from the sets of Mohanlal-starrer Villain. Asif Ali-starrer Thrishuvaperur Cliptham and Dileep’s Georgettan’s Pooram are the films gearing up to reach screens with Chemban in prominent roles.