An actor who has made his own space in the industry through a vivid spectrum of characters on-screen, Tovino Thomas has come a long way since his debut in the experimental movie Prabhuvinte Makkal in 2012. The variety of roles Tovino has enacted in a short span of time is more commendable once you understand the popularity of movies the actor was part of, with an unusual career graph in Malayalam film industry.
At the end of a tight packed schedule in 2019 and after taking a much needed break with his family, Tovino is all set for a comeback with his upcoming movie Edakkad Battalion 06. The actor gives a sneak peek into his new project and reflects upon his acting career with The Indian Express.
Q. Tovino is playing an army man in Edakkad Battalion 06. Did you have any reference character from the past or in real life that helped you in perfecting your role in Edakkad Battalion 06?
First of all Edakkad Battalion 06 is not an out and out army movie. The movie holds many surprise elements-a reason why the plot or any other details of the movie hasn’t been disclosed. I play the role of an army man who returns to his native place where he gets involved with a local gang of youngsters over some issue. Some of the situations in the movie are loosely based on true events and we had an ex military man with us throughout the course of the movie to make sure we stay close to reality of the events and the character.
Q. Are you getting offers from industries outside Malayalam?
I’m not committing anything outside Malayalam at the moment. I’ve already committed to few Malayalam movies which I think are really exciting projects. So I can’t commit to offers outside Malayalam right now. Moreover, I’m comfortable working in Malayalam industry. But, in future if I get a character suitable or exciting outside Malayalam, I’ll definitely do it.
Q. As an actor what is the target you have set for yourself?
Obviously, I strive to be the best. There is no written rule for acting, as you know. I think it is important to experiment with characters offered to you . For me, it’s like a trial and error method otherwise you are bound to get typecast. So as an actor it is important to try out as many different characters as possible which I think is the only way to learn and improve.
Q. Tovino has been the hero in many movies directed by debutants. What makes Tovino an approachable actor for debutant directors and what gives you the confidence to commit to movies directed by newcomers?
Maybe they feel I am an approachable actor (laughs). We commit to films based on the trust we have on the script. Script is the basic criteria to select a movie, especially in case of debutant directors. However, we can never foresee the final product in cinema, there’s always an element of risk, but I think we’ll have a sense about the movie once we hear the script.
Q. You are arguably the busiest lead actor among the crop of young actors in Malayalam industry considering the number of movies releasing an year. How do you find the time and energy to balance your work life and personal life?
Firstly, I don’t think I am committing to too many movies in a year. Fortunately, I was part of some very popular movies released this year including Lucifer, Uyare and Virus. I played the lead role only in three movies and Edakkad Battalion 06 is set to release this weekend. I just do it in my pace and it is not so exhausting for me, to be honest. And yes, it is important to find the right balance and to spend time with family, friends. Sometimes you’ve to put an extra effort to maintain that balance between professional and personal life.
Q. You got the opportunity to work with many senior actors including Mohanlal, Urvashi as well as with most of your contemporaries. How does this experience help you as an actor?
Naturally, I get better working with them, whether it is seniors, contemporaries or even the actors who came after me. Not just acting, we can learn many attributes from them like commitment, their ways of approaching a character etc. Plus, we learn new things with different artistes, thus it’s always a learning curve.
Q. Do you undergo any particular process before the start of a new movie in order to avoid influences of the character played in the previous project?
There’s no exercise as such. It doesn’t matter when our look changes, the crew change and our mood change with every new project, so it’s not a particularly problematic process for me to move on from one role to another.
Q. Do you have any plans to venture into other fields of cinema like direction?
As of now I don’t have any such plans. Direction is a more laborious and exhausting process. I will dare to venture into direction only if I feel I’m matured enough for it.
Q. You were one of the celebrities who worked closely with the relief activities during the previous and recent Kerala floods. Did your perspective about life change after that natural calamity?
Many people who were busy with their own life and profession got stuck in that flood and got time to stop and realize what is happening around them. Nothing happened to their lives, or career, and their lives went back to normal once the floods were over. I understood that you don’t have to rush through life. You can take a break from your busy life and take time to see the life around you. Importantly, I think humans came more closer to each other after that calamity.