During the 70s, Malayalam cinema produced the most iconic villain roles! Actors like Jose Prakash (and his beloved alligators), K.T. Ummer, M.N. Nambiar and Balan K. Nair ruled the world of baddies. They were as prominent as heroes like Prem Nazir, Sathyan, Jayan and Soman. But during the new wave of cinema in the later part of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s, Malayalam cinema witnessed a change in stereotypical villain concepts and the hero started standing alone. And so, the new-age villains were born. Among them, the likes of Bheeman Reghu, Spadikam George and Baburaj made a mark. But the latter re-introduced himself in a comic avatar.
It was in 1994, in Beeshmacharyar, featuring Cochin Haneefa, that Malayalis saw Baburaj for the first time. Baburaj came in and stole the show with his portrayal of a notorious goon. After a short break, he is coming back with his new movie. Marking his 25th year in Malayalam cinema, he plays a lead role in the upcoming family thriller drama Koodasha. Baburaj believes he won’t get a better role to celebrate the feat. “Koodasha is a thriller drama with lots of twists and turns. Of all the roles that I have played over these years, this one stands out because of its nature,” he says.
Koodasha is the directorial debut of Dinu Thomas Eelan. When asked about working with newcomers, he says, “I have never shown any indifference to any artist, whether it is actors or any crew member. Dinu knows what he is doing even though this is his first movie and I loved the way he portrayed my character.” When asked about his 25-year-long journey in Mollywood, Baburaj says he feel obliged and honoured. “More than the existence of 25 years, I would like to look back at how I survived all these years. Because many of the artists who started their careers during that time are not in the industry anymore. Some got sidelined due to many reasons. So I consider this to be a great feat. All these years, I learned to adapt the industry with all its changes. Adaptability is a big aspect. And I was always available,” he says.
In an ever-changing industry like cinema, nobody wants to stick to one thing. After all, stereotypes are meant to be broken! With Aashiq Abu’s Daddy Cool and then Salt-N’ Pepper, Baburaj broke the stereotype and showed he is capable of doing comedy roles. “I was so lucky to get that role. The role in Daddy Cool actually was a comic one. As I could perform well in it, Ashiq gave me the character of Babu in SaltN’Pepper,” he says. With this character, more actors who were doing villain roles started to shine in comedy later.
He thinks the recent revolution that is happening in Mollywood has both pros and cons. “It helped young talents get a platform in the industry and everybody is dreaming about becoming one among them in tinsel town. But it also affected artists as they lack opportunities like before with the number of people available now. But it is an occupational hazard and you will have to adjust with that,” he says, adding that the actors shouldn’t forget their predecessors.
When asked if he has any regrets in his life, he says he doesn’t, adding, “I played somebody and made a choice. But everything you do is a part of you and you get something from it. That is life. So I don’t regret anything.” Films like Koodasha are hard to come by for actors like him. “I have been doing so many comedy roles and getting a serious character like the one Koodasha is good. I cherished every moment of it and I am excited about it,” he adds. The movie will hit the screens in mid-October....