He is just two-foot tall but in life he has attained greater heights. Be it among the crowd or in his lone time, Ajayakumar, popularly known as Guinness Pakru, always stands out.
Beginning his career as a mimicry artiste, he started acting in movies very early. He is the first Malayalam actor to make an entry into the Guinness Book of Records for being the shortest artiste to play a full length character in a film (Adbutha Dweep). Later, he went on try try his hand at direction as well. Although he is known for his comic roles both on miniscreen and big screen, Pakru is gearing up for his one of the most challenging roles of his life. In 'Ilayaraja', Pakru plays the lead role as a struggling father protecting his family.
Onmanorama talks to the down-to-earth actor. Excerpts:
The actor claimed that there is a lot of similarity between his real life and the character in 'Ilayaraja'.
“After playing pivotal roles in 4-5 movies, I am back again as a lead in this movie. There is a lot of difference in terms of characterisation as well as get-ups for this movie. Director Madhav Ramadasan in his last outing had big names and in this he has entrusted me with a character with immense responsibility,” said Pakru.
Hailing from Aymanam, Kottayam, Pakru is a BA in Economics and has a diploma in Computer Science. In school he was the 'Kalaprathiba' (best artist) and that's how he made his entry into acting. For that he gives it to his mother. “When I was young, my mother used to take me to various stages and that helped me to realise my talents. Here, in this movie, I take my son to places. I had a tough time financially during my childhood, but in spite of that my mother made sure that it never hindered my passion and potential. It's the same in the movie as well. Many incidents that have happened in my life has been portrayed in the movie. One or the other way, the film has instances that will be relatable to many. The character I play in the movie is called Vanajan. There are many families like this in our state. This is not a mass movie but a movie which shows real life as such. I believe the movie will be an inspiration for many,” he stated.
Apart from acting, Pakru has also tried his hand at direction. After 'Ilayaraja' he will be venturing into production. Talking about his journey, Pakru said, “When others tell me that I have reached great heights, I have this inner voice reminding myself that I have to reach greater heights and this is not the end of it.”
“Life teaches many things through experiences. Each time, I do something, I learn something new. In that course, I do understand the mistakes, the changes, the good things and the bad sides,” he added.
More than achieving something, Pakru is glad that he is part of the Malayalam entertainment industry. “I am happy with the fact that people like me. Earlier, I was limited to small comic roles in movies. Times have now changed, people like us too get good, serious and main roles in a movie. Malayalam industry is blessed with many talented artistes and being part of it in the best way is itself lucky enough,” he said.
'Ilayaraja' movie showcases how parents need to realise the talent potential in children and motivate them. Pakru follows this in his real life with regard to his little girl Deeptha Keerthi. For the actor, his wife and daughter are his biggest pillars of strength. “It was during the shoot of this movie that I discovered one of her (Deeptha's) interests. It was holidays for her and she was with me on the sets of this movie. Direcor Ramdasan asked her if she was interested in acting. She was hesitant and replied she liked direction more than acting. She would be with director, look with him on the monitor, going along with the camera team and be there with the technical crew. So, let her choose whatever she wants to and my role will be in guiding her,” he said.
Film close to heart
“After the movie, I wish to be identified with the name 'Ilayaraja' for the movie gave me a unique confidence to do more such roles. Hope I have justified the role which was moulded by the director. Not just me, Harisree Ashokan's character and the two kids who play very important roles are significant. The kids- Ardra and Adith - faced the camera for the first time in their life. But trust me they have excelled in their roles,” concluded Pakru.