Tovino Thomas is on cloud nine as he bagged quite a good number of blockbusters in recent years. After 'Luca' opposite Ahaana Krishna, Tovino's maiden action thriller 'Kalki' has reached the theaters. The young superstar has a chain of projects in line, each of them falling in distinctive genres. He opens up about his new movie, his directorial dreams and success mantra in a conversation with Onmanorama.
I play the role of a police officer in 'Kalki.' It is an action thriller. It is the first time I play the role of an action hero. Apart from all these, this movie is special to me for yet another reason. There is an amazing crew of artists and technicians behind this movie. We were so mutually supportive that I would doubtlessly say we all made this movie together. We are all excited about 'Kalki's' release.
What is your character in 'Kalki?'
The movie shares the mythological concept behind its title - the incarnation of Lord almighty who arrives to eliminate wicked people in Kali yuga. My character is a police sub-inspector who arrives a small village, ruled by local landlords and high end gangsters. Kalki ultimately eliminated the antagonists and establishes the rule of law.
What difference did you experience while acting in an action thriller after a series of realistic movies?
I want to be a part of all kinds of movies. I had been a part of quite a few realistic movies. Now, Kalki is an action thriller. Next is a horror movie. A superhero movie is in the line too.
I performed my character in Kalki out of sheer passion. It was real struggle to perform stunts and action sequences continuously on the sets. I am not trained to perform stunts. After a certain point of time, I asked writer Vini Viswalal as to why he dragged me with such stunts that put me in such difficulty.
But I was taken aback when I saw the final output. When the visuals where edited well and mixed with proper background score, it offered me a totally different experience from the time of acting.
Kalki gave me a realization that I am capable of stretching my limits for a character which is worth it.
Have you ever felt burdened by your masculine look while performing leymen roles like in 'Oru Kuprasidha Payyan'?
No, I have never felt like that. Right when actor-director Madhupal first spoke to me about my character in 'Oru Kuprasidha Payyan,' he said Ajayan was a well built person. In fact, Ajayan had the physical strength to conquer a bull but he becomes helpless in the society, Madhupal told me. As far as that movie was concerned, I had done special workout sessions to equip myself performing the character in 'Oru Kuprasidha Payyan.
That movie was made based on a real life incident. At the same time, it wasn't treated as a biopic. Director had taken the freedom to build the characters in his own way. Ajayan was strong enough to beat a bull single-handedly, without any weapon. But he was cornered by the system leaving him helpless. He is strong, brave and well built. Yet, he fails to survive the attacks from the part of civilized society which he is also a part of. That contradiction is the beauty of 'Payyan's storyline.
I am open to mould my body in order to fit into my characters. I weighed almost 91 kg during the shooting of Kalki. Now, my weight dropped to 83 kg. I'll reduce my weight further. I may gain weight for another or for worthy characters in future. I have good control over my body.
I want my physique and acting skills to be so flexible that no one would ever use the phrase 'a typical Tovino movie.'
What is the change you wish to bring in Malayalam cinema?
We are going through a phase of transformation in Malayalam cinema. Look at the movies that were released this year. Each of them fall in unique genres. All types of movies are being received well in the industry. This is certainly a very hopeful transformation. Several good movies were recognized at various national and international platforms. Many of them won prestegious critical acclaims. I would say 2019 is a golden year for Malayalam cinema.
There are some movies I am eagerly waiting for. They shouldn't be necessarily mine. Cinema is undergoing a tremendous change world wide. Indian cinema is also being subjected to that change. There are hundreds of genres and sub-genres being followed by filmmakers around the world. I want all those genres to be experimented in Malayalam. I want Malayalam cinema to go hand-in-hand with the changes happening in global filmdom. I also want to be a part of that change.
Do you have directorial dreams?
I don't know when am I going to acquire the maturity and capability required by a filmmaker. But whenever I acquire them, I would direct a movie like Sean Penn's 'Into the wild.' I would indulge in deep researches and full-fledged journeys to manifest my dream movie.
I wouldn't practicalize this dream until I acquire that maturity level. Still, I often dream about capturing a life in camera. I want to head a movie project that discusses deep and serious stuff.
I wouldn't burden any producer with the uncertainity about the collection of my directorial debut. I would start working on it only when I can afford to produce a movie. I would also cast some talented actors other than me, in that movie.