F.A.N.S - C.O.R.N.E.R

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

In Company...........

"I don't know how to dance or sing, but in my films I do everything that's required of me as a good performer."
- Mohan Lal

He reigns over the Malayalam film scene, is the most sought-after actor in his kingdom and wins the credit for elevating Malayalam cinema to towering heights. He's been awarded the 'Padmashree', for his contribution to Malayalam cinema. He has won several National Awards - 'Keeridum' (that was recreated into a Hindi film called 'Gardish'), 'Bharatham' and 'Vanaprastham'. He's even done Tamil and Telugu films and now we're going to watch his brilliance in Ramgopal Verma's much-awaited 'Company'. And this versatile actor eloquently states, "When it comes to acting there is no North, East, South, West. Acting follows a universal language."

A few moments with Mohanlal, during his visit to the hub of Indian cinema – Mumbai.

Isn't your character in 'Company' based on a true-life story?

Mohanlal : "I don't know much about the true life character. All I am aware of is that it is a presentation of the current scenario. I am doing my job as Mohanlal and enacting a role that's been crafted out for me. My role is drawn out based on the incidents that have occurred in another Commissioner's life, someone I can physically meet. Now if I was portraying the character of someone like Gandhiji, Shree Krishna or Buddha, then it would have been a different experience to narrate."

How would you compare actresses in Bollywood with those down South?

Mohanlal : "When it comes to acting there is no North, East, South, West. Acting follows a universal language. The performance of an actor is what matters, and that is something that remains constant irrespective of what language or which region the film hails from. So there is nothing like 'Bollywood acting' or 'South acting' and there's no grounds on which you can differentiate it."

What do you think of Ramgopal Verma's style of working?

Mohanlal : "I have done around 250 films with various directors, but the passion Ramgopal Verma has for his films is amazing. He is constantly into the making of the film. I've known him for long now and I respect him as a director, the way he functions and his relentless pursuit to make an extraordinary film each time. This kind of fire is there in many directors, but with him, as every frame of the movie proceeds, his passion is constantly growing. His passion is limitless and matchless. I'm not saying this because I am doing his film, I've always appreciated his brilliance as a director."

Are there any other Hindi films in the pipeline other than 'Company'?

Mohanlal : "For me, I can't treat this movie any differently or label it as a Hindi movie or anything as such. I have done Telugu and Tamil movies and this one is just another. I haven't committed on doing any other Hindi movie now. I might do one, I might not."

Are you fluent with the Hindi language, or do you have difficulty conversing in this language?

Mohanlal : "I can read and write in Hindi. I studied Hindi in school as one of my subjects, but that was twenty-five years ago. Normally we don't converse in Hindi, so obviously I am not thorough and fluent with it."

So did you have difficulty in delivering Hindi dialogues in 'Company'?

Mohanlal : "I dubbed for 'Company' myself and fortunately in this movie my role was required to have a South Indian accent in my Hindi dialogues. Thankfully, I faced no problem with this."

What do you think of the new breed of actors?

Mohanlal : "They are all good and have the potential. In this industry, it does not solely depend upon the ability of the actor; the luck factor that favours you (or doesn't) also has a big role to play in one's success. It is important to get good directors, a decent script, good co-stars and colleagues. It is all a strange recipe."