The media plays an important role in Prithviraj’s life. Apart from the fact that the celebrity is oft written about, he is also married to a former scribe. Yet, the star takes us by surprise when he mentions that as a producer, he is a bit scared of the media. “That’s the reason why we do not organise movie premieres here. As a producer, I am worried about the wrong kind of publicity going out to the audience even before its release,” he reveals.
The actor also informs us that he has stayed away from reading film magazines and film columns on print till date. “Because journalists tend to attribute their quotes to ‘sources’. Seriously… who are these sources? I think it would give a story more credibility if the journalist would take the trouble to check with the person who is being written about. Most of the time, journalists have direct access to film personalities. Readers always want first-hand information.” Point noted.
Prithviraj also mentions that he is looking forward to the paper’s Kerala edition. “I enjoy reading the paper during my travel to other cities. It’s high time we had something like it in Kerala,” he says.
While in the newsroom, the actor took on all the questions thrown at him by the team and answered them quite as a matter of fact. Here are excerpts…
People consider you to be too outspoken and in-your-face at times. Is it not a part of an actor’s job to be as politically correct as possible?
Believe me, I did try to be politically correct. But I failed. I say things as they are because I do not know another way to put it across. If people consider that to be a virtue, then it is. If not, then it’s too bad.
How do you deal with criticism?
Constructive criticism is much appreciated. I was never brought up to be a part of films. Acting happened to me by accident. I have made my share of mistakes, but I have learnt on the job. I don’t mind if people do not relate to me as an individual. As long as they can relate to the characters I play onscreen, I am happy. Off screen, I am just a usual 29-year-old. The only difference is that I have a job that requires me to be in the public eye.
At the Kochi Times office to be a part of the launch, we invited actor Prithviraj to interact with the team as we put together the first edition of Kochi Times — Kerala’s first real entertainment and lifestyle newspaper. The young star, who already has over 75 films to his credit, was the obvious choice to be our guest for day one. He’s smart, suave and sexy — qualities that are very much in sync with the spirit of this newspaper.
Has the Malayalam film industry opened up to newcomers of late?
Yes. It is also opening up to new ideas and experiments. There are new people in all departments of filmmaking and the change that it has brought about is there for all to see. The last one-and-a-half-years has seen an upsurge in the kind of content oriented films that have been released here.
Was it comparatively difficult for you to break in as a newcomer?
I have done over 75 films now, but I am still considered to be a newcomer. That’s not surprising if you compare the number of years and good work put in by some of our seniors in the film industry. Compared to that, I am still a newbie.
What will bring about a positive change for the entertainment industry in Kerala?
I believe that Kerala is very much in need of a parallel multiplex culture; that can open its doors to screen small budget films to a smaller audience, yet have repeated shows. The industry has already seen a new trend — the audience has lapped up some of the recently released small budgeted films that are high on content. People have realised that it is the story that is most important. And that is the only way forward.
Do you take time off to interact with fans?
Yes. In fact, I am one among the most accessible actors here, as far as fans are concerned. On the sets each day, I have anywhere between 100 to 500 fans that land up, wanting to click pictures, take autographs or sometimes just share a cake with me. I oblige always. I remember, I came across the Prithviraj Fans Association when I had gone to the theatre to watch my second film — I saw some of these banners outside the theatre and was absolutely thrilled to discover I had a fan’s association. The association has grown since then. Today, it is a registered company through which I continue to do the little charity work that I am involved with.
Is working for films in other languages any different from working in the Malayalam film industry?
The only major difference is that, in the Malayalam film industry, we set the date of release of a film before we begin shooting it, and then work towards the deadline. In Bollywood, for instance, there are no such deadlines. All focus is on the creative aspect of filmmaking — irrespective of how long it takes to get it right.