Actor Roshan Mathew has played a villain, a hero and everything in between. He is one of those actors who eludes image traps by making bold choices in terms of films and characters.
Roshan has played a significant role in C U Soon, which is streaming now on Amazon Prime Video. In a recent interaction with indianexpress.com, Roshan spoke about the experience of shooting C U Soon during the lockdown, working with Fahadh Faasil and more.
Excerpts from the conversation:
Quick question, who is your favourite star — Lalettan or Mammukka?
They both are my favourites.
I am assuming that Mohanlal and Mammootty movies were your regular pop-culture diet during your formative years. When you first entered the world of movies, did you have plans of becoming a mass hero like them?
First of all, I am not someone who had plans to enter the movie industry. It happened organically out of my efforts to make a living out of acting. Becoming like them is something I have honestly not thought about. Because it is not possible. It also comes from the sense that I grew up watching them. I am a big Mammootty fan. Any movie of either of them, we would catch it in the first week itself and celebrate them to the extent of making them inaccessible. They are like this alien superheroes, powerhouses of talent. They are just big inspirations.
So you had no blueprint as to who you would be like in the movies?
I never worked with a plan. In fact, when I did my first film (Puthiya Niyamam), friends and family asked me not to do it because I was playing an antagonist. And people were like ‘don’t do it, don’t start off with this.’ But I was like, ‘hey it’s my first film and it has Mammootty and Nayantara in it, and who knows there is going to be another (film).’ I am not going to not do it because it is going to affect something that may or may not come after it. So that line of thinking continued. I don’t choose films or characters to influence what happens later. I just make the choice standing in the reality of what is happening now.
Is there a fear of the industry typecasting you?
I think that sort of thing is really changing, especially in the Malayalam film industry. I have done 13 or 14 films so far and I have played antagonist roles multiple times, played the lead, played the lead’s friend, a character on the side who is good at heart. I am still getting all sorts of characters.
What does stardom mean to you?
I think more than anything, stardom would mean doing what I really want to do becomes easier. That nobody will think twice about bankrolling a film with me in it.
Your choice of movies is well-informed. What do you think is the reason?
I am just trying to be part of good and sensible movies. Anytime I have had differences with anything in the project that I have been part of, I have always made it a point to bring it up in a conversation. If I feel there is no space for any conversation, I immediately know that no matter how badly I want to, it is not a good decision. I have been lucky to work with some amazing directors, be it Anurag Kashyap, Geetu Mohandas, Mahesh Narayanan, or Anjali Menon. And these are the biggest directors. And they have always made me feel like there is space for conversation.
How has working with these directors changed your perspective on things?
In one interview, Anurag Kashyap said that ‘Roshan is an artiste and he has his priorities right. But, I feel like, instead of being grateful for what he has been able to achieve, he is filled with a certain amount of resentment about what he was not able to do. And that needs to change.’ And at that moment I realised that it was true and it almost immediately had an impact on me. I felt a lot lighter. Since then, every time I feel bad about something that I missed out on, jealous about something else, what AK said really helps me.
How was it working on C U Soon?
It was a brilliant experience. It was so difficult and so satisfactory. I think that those are the best kind of experiences. It was very different from all the projects I have done before. Because of that there were a lot of new problems that required solving. I really enjoyed it. Actually, when the shoot ended, I felt it ended soon. I would have loved to have worked on the project for a few more days.
What did you find out about Fahadh Faasil, after watching him at work?
I found out that he is a brilliant actor. I have always known that he is exceptionally talented, as it is very evident in his movies. But, I also found that he does things very smartly, in the most effective manner possible. Because he may have figured out all possible combinations and run them a couple of times in his head or maybe he does it instinctively, I don’t know. The fact is that he has a great amount of talent mixed with a great amount of knowledge. He is someone who is working very hard to get better and better each day.
What kind of a director is Mahesh Narayanan?
I heard him say that he is a director who directs to edit. And it makes sense because he has so much clarity. He knows exactly what he wants and until he gets it, he keeps making you try again and again. It can get exhausting, depressing and scary. But, there is a lot of comfort in knowing that once he says okay, you don’t have to have any doubts about it. There is no pretense about him. He doesn’t mask his words and he is as blunt as any human being can be.
C U Soon is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
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