Alencier Ley has been here in M’town for the past 22 years, but it was after the release of the 2015 super hit film Maheshinte Prathikaram that the actor became the favourite of film buffs through the character ‘Artist Baby’. Now, the actor has become a centre of attraction again, with his one act-street play ‘staged’ in Kasargod on Wednesday in which he questioned the politicians who wanted certain artistes to quit India.
“I am an artiste,” starts Alencier talking about the play. “My performance is not just based on a comment against director Kamal. In the meantime, it is an anti-national statement that came from a politician who is an office-bearer of the political party which rules our country. Who is he to say that a person who bears a Muslim name should go to Pakistan and person with Christian name should go flee to a Christian country? Why are they calling the director Kamaludeen when his name is just Kamal? My intention was to say aloud that we, Indians, do not need a certificate from these politicians to prove that we are so,” he says.
The actor points out that Hinduism is not just a religion. “It is in fact a culture too. It is part of the concept Vasudaiva kudumbakam. No one has the right to categorise this good culture under a particular party’s flag or emblem,” he says.
On his Wednesday’s performance, he says, “It was without any practice that I went for the play. My attire was just a lungi and I got inside a bus. I asked the conductor a ticket to America. He said, ‘No it is proceeding towards Badhiyadukka’. Then I asked for a ticket to Portugal. Passengers started listening to our conversation and they started calling me Babychayan, referring to my role in Maheshinte Prathikaram. I told them that I was going to hijack this bus to America and asked them if they were interested in accompanying me to the US. They told me to wear a shirt as it was necessary first. I replied that I am not going to leave my country and got down from the bus and continued the performance on the street,” says the actor.
It was from the sets of Dileesh Pothen’s Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum that the actor went for the performance. It is not Alencier’s first performance against the atrocities in society. “Years back, alone, I ran around the Secretariat six times to protest the demolition of the Babri Masjid. My intention was to show that what happened was just a signal of more atrocities to come in future. In fact, it was later that many riots happened in many states. As I was not an actor then, no one came to report that. And it was not an isolated incident. I am an artiste who chooses to react against incidents which irritate me. It is like a person who beats a mosquito which bites him; it is a natural process. I have done such street performances even in the US two years back. I have conducted protests at my native place when a political party objected to the arrival of Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali. My intention was of course to initiate a discussion in public against this issue and I am glad to see that media as well as social media took up this incident. That is why I am giving this interview now. I do not mind criticism saying this is just for cheap publicity. I wanted to make it a discussion,” he says.
Quizzed about the comments criticising other actors who did not come forward to respond like him, he says, “Such criticism is utter nonsense. It is each individual’s choice what to say and what to do. As I said, I am a person who responds to incidents I do not like. So naturally, I came up with a play. But this cannot be taken as a parameter to compare with other actors’ social commitments.”...