Prithviraj, a well-known Malayalam actor has nearly 85 films to his credit in a career spanning more than a decade. The tall, good-looking hero made his debut with Nandanam, a runaway hit followed by Chocolate, Mozhi and Puthiya Mugham. Several of his films have been remade in Hindi, the latest being Pokkiri Raja starring Akshay Kumar. When asked about it, he says, “It shows that aesthetically we are more or less on the same plane. Soon, we will be making pan-Indian cinema not Bolly, Tolly or Molly cinema.” The excerpts:
How does it feel making a Bollywood debut?
Actually the fact that it’s a Bollywood debut is just sinking in. To begin with, Aiyya was just an interesting script; that it would be my Hindi film debut was secondary. But now that I have started promoting the film, I am realising the magnitude of it.
Didn’t you have apprehensions of making your debut opposite a big star like Rani Mukherji?
When I took up the film, Rani was in talks but hadn’t signed it. The fact that Rani said yes was great because she is the reason the film got a big canvas for the story to be portrayed. It’s also because of her that there’s a huge buzz around it.
Aren’t you feeling sidelined?
No. Even I would have done it in the same way. She is the single biggest name in the film. Director Sachin (Kundalkar) and I are secondary entities in terms of marketing. But I am happy with what I have done in the film. I play a South Indian painter, an art student. Rani’s character Meenaxi falls in love with him because of his scent. That’s the story in one line, but there is a lot of mystery associated with my character Surya which Meenaxi unravels.
Are you planning to shift base to Mumbai?
Well, I am doing another Hindi film Aurangzeb. But, regardless of my films here, I always wanted to live in Mumbai. I have been in love with the city for a long time. There is chaos but it is organised! Also, the city treats you purely on your merit. I like going to Elco market and eating chaat there. I also love to stroll at Bandstand and the town side. What is special about the city is I can enjoy anonymity unlike in Kerala (where he is mobbed). But I already feel that I am beginning to lose the anonymity, with the promos and songs of Aiyya out. It is reassuring in a way! (Laughs) I would love to shift base but it will depend on how my career pans out.
Do you watch Hindi films and is there any role that impressed you?
Yes, I am a complete Bollywood junkie and watch all Hindi movies. I am extremely jealous of Ranbir Kapoor for being able to do Barfi! That’s the kind of role I would love to dig into.