Monday, June 30, 2014

On a Hot Streak

Actor Nivin Pauly, Mollywood's rising star, has had three back-to-back blockbuster hits this year – '1983', 'Om Shanti Oshana' and 'Bangalore Days'

By Shevlin Sebastian

On an early morning, a few months ago, a shoot was taking place in an old bungalow in Tripunithara, a suburb of Kochi. Actor Nivin Pauly stood opposite Nazriya Nazim, and was supposed to talk about his mother coming to Bangalore for good. Cinematographer Sameer Thahir was sitting high up on a crane. But each time Nivin looked at Nazriya, both of them would start smiling. Take after take was spoiled. Finally, an exasperated Sameer came down and said, “I am going home. We will shoot tomorrow.”

That meant the shoot of 'Bangalore Days' would have to be done again the next day. Knowing this, director Anjali Menon rushed to Sameer, and said, “Please, please.”

A mollified Sameer said, “Okay, one more chance.”

And, this time, the actors got it right.

Nazriya and I are good friends,” says Nivin. “It is easy to do songs and comic moments. But when we have to do emotional scenes, it becomes difficult. So, we end up smiling.”
Nivin has other reasons to smile these days. Apart from 'Bangalore Days' becoming a blockbuster hit, his previous two films, '1983' and 'Om Shanti Oshana', released this year, have also been superhits.

So, how did he get it right? “I select films based on my intuition,” says Nivin. “If my inner voice tells me it is okay, only then do I say yes.”

He also looks carefully at the cast and the crew. “The director, cinematographer, production controller, producer and distributor have to be good if a film has to do well,” says Nivin. “And there should be positive vibes among the team members.”

Nivin also cites other reasons about why the three films did well. “'1983' evokes a lot of sentiments,” says Nivin. “The story touches the heart of the audience. We Malayalis are an emotional people and love nostalgia.”

'Om Shanti Oshana' did well, he says, because it is rare in Mollywood to do a love story from the point of view of the heroine. “I had a feeling that people would enjoy watching such a film,” says Nivin.

As for 'Bangalore Days', when Nivin heard the story he told Anjali that the film would do well. “All the factors needed for the success of a film were there, like humour, emotions, thrills, and romance,” he says.

Asked whether the audience's tastes are changing, Nivin says, “They are ready to accept anything, provided it is interesting and presented in an attractive manner.”

Nivin says that the one reason for his own success as an actor is because he follows the 'Method' style of acting. “When I was doing '1983', I never went to the set and told myself that I am Nivin Pauly,” he says. “Instead, I behaved like my character Rameshan.”

When there was a lunch break, Nivin would spread a sheet on the ground and have a nap, like Rameshan, instead of relaxing in an air-conditioned room. He remained as Rameshan throughout the shoot. In 'Bangalore Days', Nivin played Kuttan who is a slightly foolish character. “Off-screen I tried to be like him,” he says.

This 'method' seems to be working. Nivin Pauly is now one of the hottest actors in Mollywood. 

(Sunday Magazine, The New Indian Express, South India and Delhi) 

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