Mani: A Special Name In Kerala
Kalabhavan Mani is a special individual in
Kerala social scene. From a mimicry artist to a hero of a
different kind, Mani with his folksongs spread all over through
audiocassettes satisfies a great chunk of Malayalam film
audience. He is identified as a highly successful actor minus the
conventional glamour that is prevalent in film field. He
disproved the conception that to be a hero, one needs to be
attractive, handsome and must have a presentable face. He is
identified as a popular actor. His Vasanthiyum Lakshmiyum
Pinne Njanum, and the most recent film Karumaadikkuttan
in which he appeared as a mentally retarded person ran for weeks
in fully packed houses.
Here we have Kalabhavan Mani in a short interview:
You have completed nearly 100 pictures. How do you feel?
Great and happy.
He records his gratitude to the first four who really introduced him to the field.
I owe my gratitude to director Ambili who has given me the first chance in his Samudaayam, Sallapam and made me really an artist known among people. I owe it to Mr Lohithadas, Mr Sunder das and Producer Mr Unni.
He is modest to a request made by the interviewer to evaluate himself as an actor.
I am not mature enough. Quite often I feel I am not taking acting seriously.
The actor in you is highly becoming successful. How far you have distanced yourself away from a mimicry artist?
Practically nil. I am still the old mimicry artist. I dont have the pretensions of a matinee man. I have my humble life. I have my acting as a profession. And the old mimicry is still with me.
What kinds of roles do you like most?
Comedy roles, of course!
But you did a couple of villain roles in Vallyettan and Saphalyam, which were excellent! Didnt you?
Yes, that were so, I was told by many. It was Mr Ranjith the scriptwriter who recommended me to the villain role in Vallyettan. And it was the performance in that film which fetched me a character in the Tamil film Vanchinathan directed by Shaaji Kailas.
Which of the roles did you like most?
Those ones in Sallapam, Udyanapalakan, Dilliwala Rajakumaran.
Not those in Vasanthiyum , and Karumadikkuttan!
Definitely. The other ones are small roles that made me what I am now. I am emotionally attached to them. In fact I price those tiny roles most.
Does that mean that you dont prefer Hero roles?
It means that I will do them only when I get really good characters and good stories. I know my limitations well. My person, my voice and all that will not suit me when it comes to acting in an executives role. I am aware of it.
Who is a good actor by your standards?
A lot of factors constitute a good actor.
Can you name one such actor in Malayalam?
We are lucky. Nearly everyone is good.
So there are some who are not--? Right?
Yes, for example me. I am not a perfect actor.
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