Mani Ratnam’s film:
His career graph took time to rise but clever choice of roles and determination have made him one of the busiest stars in South India today. He will soon be acting in a Mani Ratnam film with Vikram and Aiswarya Rai. “Mani Ratnam is one of the reasons I am in films,” he says. He is delighted at the opportunity.However, bitten by the acting bug so early, Prithiviraj never got around to completing his college studies. Does it bother him? “Not really. But it would have been better if my entry into tinsel town had happened a little later. On hindsight, I feel that cinema was always my destination. I wish I had gone to New York University or some place like that to study cinema,” says the star.Prithviraj is a good cook too…
But he feels that his two years in Tasmania helped him grow as a person. “I became more independent. I learnt to do everything, from washing and cooking to managing my finances, on my own.”“I am a very good cook,” he adds with a grin. “I can cook exotic Chinese dishes that I learnt from my friends, who were women, by the way.” But cooking is not his hobby. That is something he does well. Like singing, a talent he seems to have inherited from his mother, Mallika Sukumaran. “Ranjith wanted me to do a song in ‘Rock n’ Roll’ but I wriggled out of it,” he laughs.
Prithiviraj is into books and his eclectic tastes have him reading books that range from thrillers and pulp fiction to tomes on cinema and philosophy. “I think my brother, Indrajith, and I inherited the passion for reading from my father, Sukumaran, who was a voracious reader. He would read nine newspapers and the collection we had at home would beat that in many local college libraries. He had a thirst for knowledge,” recalls Prithiviraj.
Perhaps it is that desire to learn that finds Prithviraj taking a keen interest in the minutiae that goes into filmmaking. “If there is something new on a set, say a new camera, I make it a point to understand its working within two days. I try and glean as much knowledge as I can about it.”
Talk about cinema and Prithviraj becomes animated. He feels that Indian cinema in general and Malayalam cinema in particular must adapt the best of international technology but look for “content and stories within our culture and language.” “Why should we borrow stories from Hollywood or Bollywood? Our literature is so rich and diverse. But there is a dearth of good scriptwriters in Malayalam cinema. And I think we should have more films in English. That is one of the ways to cater to the world,” he points out.
“Ten years from now, I see myself as a director and a producer with my own production house that will, hopefully, make good films. Not just films in Malayalam and Tamil but Indian films in English that will appeal to regional and international audiences,” says the actor.Marriage:
And, marriage? “Yes, that is on the cards. But only to someone I come to know well enough and am comfortable with.”There was no time for more.
Prithviraj was taking a break from a shoot at Vismaya Max at Kazhakuttam, in the outskirts of the city.