Friday, June 1, 2012

The boy who wanted to kill Vasco Da Gama

Prithviraj Sukumaran has a sizeable fan club in the city, thanks to 'Mozhi', 'Vellithirai' and Mani Ratnam’s 'Ravanan'. And he is back after a brief absence with the Tamil verison of the big budget historical movie, 'Urumi', which he has jointly produced with Santosh Sivan and Shaji Natesan. He will also be seen in Bollywood with Anurag Kashyap’s production, 'Aiyya', also starring Rani Mukherjee. Sharing his views on his new production house, August Cinema, the 29-year-old actor talks about his desire to play Bhagat Singh and more.

The movie is about Vasco Da Gama. Can we expect a lesson from history?

It is about how when Vasco Da Gama discovered India, merchants did not want to trade with him. He got arms and ammunition and intimidated them. We have a well documented account about these events at the Portuguese museum, but the Indians have failed to file anything. It is a fictitious movie based on some real situations and people.

'Urumi' was your first shot at playing producer. Are you ready for a repeat?

I loved the entire process. It was a gutsy decision to make a film of this magnitude. The equipment, sets and locations have been expensive. I do not know about entering Bollywood and Kollywood, but I have set my base in the Malayalam film industry and will continue to produce movies. I already produced, Indian Rupee, which won the National Award.

Tell us about the research that went into this movie?

It was tremendous. We had to struggle to get reading material. Incidents during the 18th and 19th centuries are documented but not that of the 14th and 15th centuries. In Cochin, one would just find a statue of Vasco Da Gama, so we looked online. As for the location, we wanted a Kerala with no coconut trees, because that is how it was in the 15th century. So we shot the entire movie in Malshej ghat, Maharashtra.

Tamil audiences enjoy your comic timing. Is there any scope for it in 'Urumi'?

I would like to call it a funny movie because when one watches it, they will understand the satire. It has elements of drama, emotion, action and the comedy is mostly by Prabhu Deva.

How did you prepare for the movie?

I had to put on some weight for this movie. The horse riding and Kalaripayattu was a task. 'Urumi' means a sharp weapon and is gener-ally given to people who have eight years of experience in Kalari. I had to do stunts with it and had to be careful not to hurt anyone or myself.

Did the reception to the movie in Kerala meet your expectations?

It ran in 490 theatres and made Rs 10 crores in Kerala alone. I think we did a good job.

Are insecurities part of being an actor?

Not really. Though we make 1,000 movies a year, we do not have 1,000 actors in India. We have enough roles and no one is going to miss out on anything.


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