Actor Dileesh Pothen has charmed the Malayali audience with some incredible on screen performances last year. However, his ardent fans are eagerly waiting to watch yet another ‘Pothettan’s brilliance’. Dileesh has taken a break from direction after the critically and commercially successfully movies Maheshinte Prathikaram and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum. He says that he is waiting for an exciting project to don the director’s hat again. Meanwhile, the actor plays a pivotal role in the movie Trance, directed by Anwar Rasheed. Dileesh speaks to Onmanorama about his character in Trance and his plans in direction.
Have you taken a sabbatical from direction?
The first two movies had thrilled me. I am waiting for a movie that makes me as thrilled and excited as those films. I do movies, taking my own time. That is why there has been a small break.
What is Trance all about?
I am just an actor who essayed a character in the movie. Trance is Anwar Rasheed’s movie. That is one of the reasons which drew me to the movie. I am excited to be part of it. Amal Neerad dons the camera while the sound engineering is by Resul Pookutty. Fahadh has done an incredible job in this movie. Meanwhile, Nazriya dons a unique role. Ace director Goutham Menon too acts in Trance. Besides, there are actors like Vinayakan, Joju, Soubin and Srinda in this movie. This is what I have to say about Trance.
Why did this movie take so long to get released?
This indeed is a big movie. Not just the post production, but we took time shooting it as well because it demanded lots of energy from the actors. So, it was filmed in short schedules. Fahadh plays the role of a motivational speaker. That character required intense energy. Besides, all these actors and technicians always look for perfection in their respective fields. That is the why it took so long.
What is Dileesh’s character in Trance?
I essay a character called Avarachan in the movie. My character is someone who is close to Fahadh’s character. Avarachan definitely is an intense character that has real depth.
What is the unique factor that the director in Dileesh appreciates the most in Fahadh as an actor?
There isn’t any unique factor. Fahadh is just an amazing actor. He has shown great range as an actor. Secondly, he works really hard. He is an actor who gets totally committed to his work once he becomes part of a project. It is easy to work with him. It is quite difficult for him to get attracted to a project. But, if he does, he would be dedicated to it from the beginning to the end. Fahadh is an incredible actor who is dedicated and works hard.
Haven’t the success of Maheshinte Prathikaram and ‘Pothettan’s Brillinace’ increased your responsibility as a director?
No, I don’t see it that way. It is true that Maheshinte Prathikaram had made me confident. I haven’t felt anything else beyond that. I do not carry success on my head too much. I try to do movies that I like. I don’t do any comparison other than that.
There is differentiation of the realistic and the dramatic these days in cinema. What do you think about that?
I don’t think there are such divisions in cinema. In fact, cinema has all these factors. There is drama in Maheshinte Prathikaram and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum. When we present drama we try to make it feel realistic for the audience. Our priority is to make good movies. I am not saying there aren’t any dramatic elements in these movies. However, we have presented it lightly so that it would feel as if it is real. I too wish to do all kinds of movies. I really would like to do a mass movie.
Priyadarshan had said that he felt like retiring when he watched Kumbalangi Nights. What do you have to say about that?
I grew up watching Priyadarshan’s movies. I was born in 1981; so you could easily guess how the Priyadarshan movies may have influenced someone who grew up at that time. His movies and his visuals have influenced me greatly. He is a great director. His presentation is incredible. No other director of those times has made the audience laugh as much as he did. I and Syam used to talk about him while doing Maheshinte Prathiakram. We used to say that slapstick comic scenes like the ones that are seen in Priyadarshan’s movies should be there in our film as well. Those discussions have actually motivated us to create the hilarious scenes at the funeral house in Maheshinte Prathikaram.
What gave you the courage to make Suraj the hero of your movie?
I had no doubts in Suraj’s skill as an actor. Earlier, Suraj had performed amazingly in Dr. Biju’s movie. He did well in a small scene in Abrid Shine’s movie as well. He is an actor who has amazingly used the spaces that he got. I won’t say that humor is something that doesn’t require acting. Humor could be done only if you are talented and have great timing as well. I think it is easier to do a dramatic scene.
You have not worked with Mammootty and Mohanlal. Is this because you do not write for the stars?
Not just the stars, I haven’t written for any particular person or actor. I haven’t written a script even for Fahadh. We try to narrate a story and find an actor who suits it best. Whenever I write something, I imagine how it would turn out if Mammooty or any other actor does that. I really wish to do movies with them; I even think about such projects. However, nothing has worked out yet.
We cannot conceive every story with perfection. It would take at least 3 -4 years for me to make a movie. They should have a suitable role in it. At least we should have an interesting story when we approach them. I am eagerly waiting for that.
Do you believe that the movies that are born from friendships would be better?
I would like to think that the reverse is true as well. Just like cinema could be born from friendship, cinema could give you friends. It is my genuine love for cinema and my approach to it that earned me these friends. So, I believe that cinema is the bonding factor in it. A beautiful friendship grows when a group of people come together for a movie. I don’t think a movie is made by a few friends.
Name the film makers who have influenced you?
I cannot point out anyone. All of them have influenced me. I liked watching movies. It was only after a particular age that I began noticing who the director is. I used to watch movies even at a young age. I felt happy watching movies whether it is good or bad. I used to enjoy every movie no matter how bad they were. Ace directors like Priyadarshan, Sathyan Anthikad and Sibi Malayil and my contemporaries like Anwar Rasheed, Amal Neerad, Roshan Andrews and Lal Jose have inspired me. Besides, the movies of Sidhique Lal, Padmarajan, Bharathan and IV Sasi too have influenced me.
What do you have to say about Aashiq Abu, the guru?
It was with Aashiq Abu that I felt comfortable for the first time. I had, before that, worked in 7 -8 movies. However, I was very stressed on the sets of those movies. It was when I came to Aashiq that I began doing what I love in a relaxed and enjoyable manner.
Do you think acting in Salt and Pepper was the best thing?
Definitely yes. I could earn a unique space as an actor only because I decided to act in it. That is the reason why I am not stressed when I do not direct movies after Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum. It is acting that didn’t make me miss movies and also gave me the financial stability as an individual. Or else, I would have to make direction my main source of income.
When I direct two back to back movies and then take a break from it, it means I do not see it as my financial source. I haven’t even asked for my salary in any of these movies. I enjoy this freedom and take my own time as director only because I earn a steady income from acting.