Manoj K Jayan is rated highly for acting skills. In 30 years, however the actor did only 165 films and he calls himself as 'a lazy man' for such low output. The actor, who had carved a niche of his own in the South Indian film industry, opened up on his acting ventures while a guest at Mazhavil Manorama's chat show 'Nakshathrathilakkam'
Unreleased first movie
Although the actor debuted with a small role in 1987 movie 'Ente Sonia', he was roped as a lead man in 'Mamalakalkkappurathu' (1988). But the film never hit the screens.
Ask him about it and he laughingly said, “I was praying then that let the movie never be released. There was a trend back then that the first film of actors who made it big later never got released. Take the case of Sathyan, Naseer, Mohanlal or Mammootty. Ali Akbar, the director of that movie, is my friend but deep inside I had the feeling that I too will be joining the league of the superstars and somehow things were such that the film never got released.”
Manoj is proud of his association with great filmmakers and scriptwriters. “I am glad that I could associate with many veteran directors. Today, while many stars yearn to be part of films written by MT Vasudevan, I could grab a role in 'Perunthachan' written by him, which was only my third movie. It's through that movie I got an offer in 'Sargam' by Hariharan which fetched me a National Award.”
Manoj stated his self-confidence helped him to survive in the industry. “Unlike old days, there are too many choices now. But then, it was hard to survive with the presence of superstars and one cannot head on without confidence,” he said.
One of the most notable characters Manoj essayed on screen was the evil black magician Digambaran in 'Anandabhadram' (2005). He revealed that he watched the movie only three years after its release. “It was such a heavy character and I had a fear. Strangely, I couldn't get out of that character even after doing the movie. I was down with fever for three weeks after its shoot. I couldn't even go for promotions and many called me as where I had gone. I saw it, after almost three years, while I was in Vietnam for a show. While at the house of a friend he asked me if I wanted to watch the film and that's how I finally watched it.
Although the actor proved his excellence with varied shades of roles, Manoj terms the role in 2011 movie 'Seniors' as his most challenging of all.
Manoj revealed actor Mammootty has been an inspiration for him. “I have acted with him in so many movies and each time you meet him he talks about all the latest gadgets. And that's how I too was deeply interested in those matters. Once during the shoot of 'Rajamanikyam', he showed us the first iPod. He told me how his friend from Dubai had gifted him. And a week later, I went to Chennai and bought the same. When I told him about it, he was surprised and later invited me to his house to give me his music collections," he recalled.
For him, the most stylish actor among the present generation is Fahadh Faasil. “New people should come and should replace (the old generation) . I feel the movies they are in are inspirations. Once the older people go, the new ones should take their place and balance out (talent supply) in Malayalam Cinema.”
Manoj also recalled one interesting aspect about industries and the remuneration. “When I did the 1992 movie 'Sargam', I was happy. I never asked for remuneration. Once the shooting was over, director gave me Rs 1,500 with which I was satisfied. Later, when director called me and asked me about the film's Telugu remake he told be never to compromise with remuneration. And thus I asked 10 times more amount than what I got for 'Sargam'. And thus I was given half a lakh for its remake," he said.