At an elevation of above 2000 metres, in a place called Vashisht in Kullu, Krishnan Balakrishnan shuddered from a deep afternoon siesta. Dr Biju, director of Veyil Marangal, has brought some news that he never imagined would come to him. At the height of unbelievability, to double-check things, he picked the mobile phone and realised two congratulatory messages for the best television actor in the state have already found its way to his inbox. A seasoned actor in theatre and big screen alike has got the due after so many years. “The watchman in Amrita TV’s Kaligandaki was no hero, and still how?” The actor throws a question at the interviewer.
So unexpected it was, Krishnan does not even have an image of his character to share with. “Could have saved a photo had I known that I’d get an award,” he says humbly.
The feel is common in Krishnan’s large and ever-widening friend circuit including actors, activists, film personalities, media persons and more. That it took too many years to recognise an actor-par-excellence.
“Firstly, I had little to expect when about six or seven tele-serials compete in one time slot. I did not expect that I’d be a choice among people’s favourite, charming heroes. I am glad that the jury is looking beyond title roles to find the best actor. I play watchman to a gallery, not a protagonist, who is so important to the plot. There is not any part that goes without him,” Krishnan speaks about his role in actor/director Madhupal’s maiden television directorial.
Long before television or prime-time TRP ratings came into play, Krishnan has been there. A disciple of theatre ace Kavalam Narayana Panicker, his formal schooling in acting was at Sopanam Institute of Performing Arts and Research.
His next destination was cinema, where he got into serious roles without being typecast. He became a face to reckon with in the art house movies starting with Oraal directed by Kuku Surendran in 2005. Later on, he was seen in the films of noted directors like Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Shaji N. Karun and Dr Biju.
He always kept one foot firm in theatre, getting involved in Soorya and Lenin Rajendran’s theatrical productions. His role in developing Manaveeyam Veedhi corridor in Thiruvananthapuram to a cultural hotspot is worth mentioning.
Many would miss this minute detail, that Krishnan played character roles when Suraj Venjaramood and Surabhi Lakshmi won national recognition in Perariyathavar and Minnaminungu respectively....