The Malayali audience loved Vijilesh’s character in the superhit movie Maheshinte Prathikaaram. He is shown learning kung fu to beat up the man who harasses his sister. However, in Varathan, we saw a different 'face' of Vijilesh and the same audience wanted to thrash him! It is this incredible skill to effortlessly transform into different characters that make Vijilesh one of the busiest young actors in Malayalam cinema today.
Vijilesh here recalls his early days, dreams and career.
Vijilesh hails from a beautiful countryside called Kaarayad near Perambra in the Kozhikode district. His father was a labourer and his mother worked as a helper in a local childcare centre (anganwadi). Vijilesh has an elder brother as well. “Struggles, poverty and neglect marked my childhood. My elder brother too had to work as a labourer to support the family. Ours was a small house with just two rooms and a kitchen. Though it lacked sufficient facilities, we had lived in that house, happily for years,” the actor recalls.
Passion for acting
Vijilesh has been passionate about acting from childhood itself. He, along with his friends, used to present small plays in the grounds at his village. Soon, Vijilesh began taking part in the school youth festivals. While studying for degree, he used to send his photos and bio data in response to all newspaper ads that called for actors and newcomers. “Though I used to send photos, no one called me for any role. Many made fun of me saying I was dreaming of becoming an actor with this thin figure. After completing my degree, I enrolled at the Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit in Kalady for my higher studies in theatre arts. Director Kalavoor Ravikumar had watched a play that we did at college and offered me a small role in his next movie. But, that film failed to grab attention. However, God had no plans to give up on me that soon,” Vijilesh narrated.
“Filmmaker Dileesh Pothen called me up and offered me a small role in his movie Maheshinte Prathikaaram. I really liked the character who learns martial arts just to beat up the ‘big’ guy who constantly taunts his sister. It was this role in Maheshinte Prathikaaram which earned me attention as an actor. More offers began coming my way after that movie. Later, the villain roles in Varathan and Theevandi too were noticed,” Vijilesh recalled.
Home sweet home
Vijilesh was studying in class 10 when a huge coconut tree in the front yard fell over his house during heavy rains and winds. The roof was severely damaged and the house leaked that entire monsoon. The family placed vessels and buckets to collect the water that gushed in through the damaged roof. They soon built a small shed beside the house and lived in it for the next two years. They had to sell the small plot of land that was in Vijilesh’s mother’s name to construct a new house.
“Coconut trees are still there on our plot. As we don't want to test their strength again, we built a cement-plastered single-storied house. It was only after I began getting a few opportunities in the movies that we constructed an extra floor. However, my house is still unfinished as painting and a few other works are yet to be finished,” Vijilesh narrated.
Vijilesh shares an intimate relationship with his family and hometown as well. Most of his films are shot in the locations around Kochi and the actor loves to head back to his house as soon as his schedule gets over.
“My dream is to purchase some land closer to the Kozhikode town and build a small house there. I am already past 30 and would now like to get married and settle in life. My family has begun considering proposals. If everything works out well, then a new member would come to my house, by next year,” Vijilesh hoped.