From Chandrakumar to Sasi Kalinga: the journey of an accidental film star

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Malayalam cinema has always welcomed incredibly talented artists from the theater. V Chandrakumar who is known by his stage name Sasi Kalinga was one of them. Many in the film fraternity were shocked to hear the news about his sudden demise. Here are the excerpts from an interview of Sasi Kalinga with Manorama Online that was published in 2015.

Who discovered Sasi Kalinga, the actor?

It was definitely Ranjith sir (director Ranjith). I came in front of the camera through his movie Paleri Manikyam. I had met Ranjith sir, quite unexpectedly, in Kozhikode. That meeting had changed my life. He told me not to go anywhere for a month from 5 August onwards. When I learnt that he was offering me a role in his next movie, I felt really proud and elated.

Did you wish to act in the movies?

Not really. I always thought no one would offer me any movie roles. I had greatly admired actors like Prem Nazir and Adoor Bhasi. I can only say that fate had it in store for me. We do not live expecting anything in life. I owe everything to Ranjith sir. It is because I have had this destiny and met Ranjith sir that I am even speaking to your right now.

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Though you debuted through Paleri Manikyam, you got noticed in Pranchiyettan.

I have in fact done nothing in Pranchiyettan. All the credit goes to Ranjith sir. I have only done what he had asked me to do.

You appeared in a handful of movies within a short span of time. Which role is your most favorite one?

The characters Ayyappan in Pranchiyettan and Manalath in Paleri Manikyam are really close to my heart. I like all the characters that I have essayed on screen.

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What about the incredible chemistry between you and Sunil Sukhada?

I think this idea about ‘chemistry’ is not right. I just play the roles offered by the director and the screen writer. Where is chemistry here? I and Sunil are great friends. I really like and respect him. We respect each other. Besides, both of us are drama artists. He is a star in the amateur theater.

What do have to say about Mammootty?

Mammootty is like an elder brother. I still get nervous whenever he is around. Meanwhile, Mohanlal is a close friend and Renjith sir is like a senior relative. I have great respect for all of them. I can only talk about them with folded hands.

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Jagathy Sreekumar is hailed as the most iconic comic actor in Malayalam cinema. What do you think about him?

What should I say about him! He can easily transform into a character. You could definitely call him an encyclopedia. I cannot even do as well as him. I wouldn’t be able to do what he has done even if I am born seven times. I pray that he gets well and return to Malayalam cinema soon.

How about your transformation from Chandrakumar to Sasi Kalinga?

Though my real name is Chandrakumar, everyone at my home call me Sasi. I acted in plays as Sasi Kozhikode. It was Ranjith sir who changed my name to Sasi Kalinga. He added the name of my drama troupe ‘Kalinga’ to my name.

Family

I hail from Kunnamangalam in Kozhikode. My wife is Prabavati. 

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