Kakhikullile kalakaran is one of the most overused phrases in Malayalam movies. When it comes to portraying the police force, Malayalam cinema or Indian cinema has always been misleading and audience raise their brows whenever a police officer with artistic quality appears on screen. But since the release of award-winning movie Thondimuthalum Driksashiyum, movie buffs are in love with an artist who wears the khaki. Sibi Thomas, Circle Inspector of Police, who portrayed a police officer in Thondimuthalum Driksashiyum, says he is living his dream and words fail to describe his happiness over the laurels and appreciation. A regular face in the industry since then, Sibi is enjoying the critical acclaim for his performance in Sidharthan Enna Njan, his first movie playing the titular role. Taking one more step forward, Sibi is penning a script for a movie which has ace director Rajeev Ravi on board.
"Sidharthan is a very different character from the lot I performed so far. Being a police officer turned actor, many filmmakers naturally cast me in the cop role. But Sidharthan was a bliss as it gives me an opportunity to perform and show what I am capable of. It is a test for me as well. The character is very open and relatable to many. We have seen people like him in everyday life. It was very challenging for that matter and some complex moments really tested me. But I am happy that the audience liked it very much."
Sibi doesn’t hide his fear of getting typecast. "In more than half of the movies I committed to and acted in, I play cops. If I tell someone that I have been offered a role in a movie, it becomes very obvious that it would be a cop role. But I’m in no position to reject to any such role at the moment. I don’t think I need to reject,because ultimately it is a cinema and that’s where I want to be," says Sibi.
Quizzed about his scriptwriting venture, Sibi says the story is inspired from a real-life heist case of which he was in charge. "A lot of ‘filmy’ incidents happenin a police station every day. The story too is based on a real-life police investigation I led while serving at a suburban police station in Kasaragod in 2016. It was a standout in my career. The incident rocked our jurisdiction and the suspect was a migrant labourer. I and my team had hich I added to the story," says Sibi.
"When I talked to Rajeev Ravi, who was directing me in his new film Thuramugham, he was impressed and agreed to work on it. Rajeev was happy with the progress of the story and I could give him scene by scene details as it was a real incident."
Sibi says the way Malayalam films portray police officers has been very misleading though there are very few realistic exceptions. "Films like Action Hero Biju, Thondimuthal and Joseph broke the stereotypical portrayal of the force. For us, that was bliss. Since joining the force, I could understand the difference between fiction and reality. I agree with the fact there are bad attitudes coming from a few officers but most of us are human beings like everyone else. I believe that realistic movies like Thondimuthal have changed the way people look at the officers." Asked if movie career has changed his reputation in the department he says, "I remain a normal officer in the department, but interestingly, after the release of my movies, whenever I question a suspect or get involved in an investigation, I never get to use physical force, shout or not even twirl my moustache. I get the answers easily," laughs Sibi.
In Rajeev Ravi’s Thuramugham, he plays a trade union leader. Also in the pipeline are Ghost in Bethlehem, Pada, Edakkad Battalion Six. Bhava and another movie starring Kunchacko Boban.
Now serving as the head of the coastal police station in Azheekode, Sibi has won the Chief Minister’s medal for distinguished service in 2015, and the Kerala police’s badge of honour for the best investigator in 2014. A university champion in the art festival, he used to write poems.