When you hear the name Sumangal Singha Roy, it probably won't ring a bell. But if you hear ‘Driver bhai’, you’d probably say ‘Oh! That guy in Theevandi with a laugh. Seven years ago, when he came to Kerala with the hope of building a better life like any other inter-state worker living here, he never imagined he’d become popular.
There are nearly 30 lakh inter-state workers in Kerala at the moment and Sumangal is one the most recognised ones among them. A native of Udalguri district in Assam, he has acted in 12 Malayalam movies, the latest being the hit movie Theevandi. And this number is only set the increase!
I had never expected anything like this in my life. I never thought of watching a Malayalam movie, let alone acting in one. Now that I am in films, it feels surreal. I am happy that Theevandi is running well," says Sumangal. Though he is a regular face in movies, he still works at a bakery in Ernakulam South, where he has been working for years.
The big break came on a Sunday morning when the associate directors of Masala Republic met him. They were searching for north-eastern people living in Kerala for the movie and didn’t have to look beyond Sumangal when they met him. In Masala Republic, he had a key role to play. After that, he did some movies but his on-screen time didn’t last beyond one or two scenes. He even acted in movies like Kanal, which is when he met Mohanlal. Then came Kismath, in which he had a reasonably good role. "But Theevandi is till date the best movie among these 12 films." He was the driver of Shammy Thilakan who did the role of an MLA. His character is the turning point in the film and nobody can forget his innocent face with folded hands in the climax.
In every movie, Sumanagal has played the role of an interstate worker, so he’s been in his comfort zone. At first, he didn’t let anyone, other than his family, know that he was acting in movies. But now in his village, they all know he is the main ‘Bhai’ in Mollywood.
Back home, his family is very proud of him. And he is very happy seeing his pictures in movie posters and feels proud when people want to take selfies with him.
A man who once had no idea about Malayalam movies now he loves them; Indrajith and Tovino Thomas are his favourite actors. Sumangal says a project is in the pipeline and the shooting will start by the end of this month.