The extremely successful actor, playback singer and producer, Prithviraj Sukumaran, says that despite his father's stardom, he never thought he would be an actor!
Renowned Malayalam film actor Prithiviraj Sukumaran has become extremely successful in a very short amount of time. The 30-year-old actor started his career in Malayalam movies and went on to experiment in various other industries like Tollywood and Kollywood. Acting is in his genes; he's the son of the late South superstar Sukumaran. Prithviraj has recently been making in news in Bollywood via Aiyyaa with Rani Mukherji. And he has signed a big one - Aurangzeb - with Yash Raj Films! Even though Aiyyaa didn't fare well at the box-office, Prithvi still has Hindi film offers pouring in, not a surprise considering
he is already 75 films old down South. The actor speaks to Masala! about his Bollywood debut and his transition from south India to the north.
You're a superstar in Malayalam and Tamil films. What made you switch to Bollywood?
It wasn't really a switch. I have always been looking to do different movies and have switched from Malayalam to Tamil and Telugu cinema. As I have always said in my previous interviews, it was the script of Aiyyaa that attracted me.
Have you shifted base to Mumbai?
I have not really shifted base. I live in Mumbai when I'm working on my films. It has always been a dream for my wife and I to live here. In fact, my wife is from Mumbai; she used to work in the city and we met and fell there as well! We are on the lookout for a place and hopefully, by next year, we will find something good.
How did you start your career in south India?
I was doing my Bachelors in Information Technology in Australia and I returned to India for my summer vacation. During this time director Ranjith, who was and still is one of the biggest directors of the Malayalam film industry, cast me in Nandanam as he thought that I would be able to pull the role off well. Frankly, I was very apprehensive of going into acting and never really wanted to be in cinema.
Malayalam films are famous for their performance-oriented roles. But you one of the few actors who is known for his physique. Do you think the trend is changing down south?
It has been changing for a while now. Younger actors are quite keen to keep fit. Even the audience expects the hero to be fit on screen. The Malayalam film industry has a very rich heritage in terms of acting skills. I am lucky to be able to use this vast amount of experience.
You showed off your toned physique in Aiyyaa. What was your workout regimen?
It was quite hectic and I can't look the same for every movie like I looked in Aiyyaa! I had to go on a high calorie diet and had to practically live in the gym!
Who do you think are the hottest actresses in Bollywood today?
Well, all of them are ridiculously good-looking; Can I pick all of them?
What made you want to do Aiyyaa?
The moment I heard the script, I knew that it was the kind of film that a lot of people may or may not like. However, it was a very different film and I hadn't done anything like it before. That's what propelled me to take it on.
Were you satisfied with your role?
Yes definitely, I was a part of Aiyyaa from the very beginning. Aiyyaa was totally different from every one of the 75 movies I have worked in so far. And at the end of the day, I cannot complain because it was a great debut which fetched me a large amount of critical acclaim.
What was your chemistry with Rani Mukerji like off-screen?
She's been extremely supportive. Right from the first interaction I had with the team (which took place at Rani's house), she was very involved with every aspect of the film. She made sure that everyone on the sets was comfortable and she has a great sense of humour too. It was great working with her.
Tell us more about the Yash Raj film, Aurangzeb that you have signed with Arjun Kapoor.
Aurangzeb not just my film; it has very big star cast including Rishi Kapoor, Jackie Shroff and others. While the film is an ancient drama it's not really a period film.
How conversant are you with Hindi?
Apart from Malayalam and English, Hindi is the only language I can read and write. I'll have to get used to the language as a medium of conversation. I am getting a tutor who will help me with the language and I'm talking in Hindi on a regular basis now so this helps in a small way.
Did you watch Hindi films while growing up?
Yes, I watched a lot of Hindi films. My favourite dialogue has to be the one from Shahenshah: "Rishte mein toh hum tumhare baap lagte hain, naam hai Shahenshah!"
How did your wife react to your move to Bollywood?
She loved it! She loves my Bollywood career for a very selfish reason - she wants to spend more time in Mumbai! (Laughs)
Do you have any regrets in life?
My only regret is probably the fact that my dad is not around to see my success. It would have been great had he been here.
What's next in the pipeline after Aurangzeb?
I need to make a choice between a couple of films that have been offered to me. Without an official go-ahead, I would not like to make any kind of announcement right now. In case I end up deciding not to do one of those films, I don't want to cause any embarrassment.
Are you aware that you are the reason for a lot of heartbreak in Mumbai and other parts of India? Girls didn't know you were married!
Well, all I can say is, sorry to disappoint them all but I am happily married! (Laughs).
What is the major difference between working in Bollywood and the south?
There aren't many differences as such. The only thing that drastically differs is the concept of deadlines. In Bollywood you seldom have to meet deadlines while in the South one has to announce the release date of a film on the mahurat day itself!
Also in Interviews
- In an exclusive chat, Gulshan Grover shares his excitement about playing the...
- Lara Dutta tells us why designing is her "new baby"
- Masala! brings you an exclusive, unedited conversation with the star
- Masala! talks to the effervescent lady who comes from one of the UAE’s most...