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Aswin Thampi
By Deepa Unni

Aswin Thampi is like any other child of his age. He goes to school, studies, plays with his friends and does everything that a child of his age normally does. But this fifth standard student of Christ Nagar School, Thiruvananthapuram, does one thing that no one else in his school does. He tells his friends stories, not the usual kind of stories, but stories of films - his own films. For Aswin is a star, a real star who has acted with Mammootty, Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi, Kunchacko Boban and Kalabhavan Mani. And what else? Like Mammootty, like Mohanlal, like Suresh Gopi or Kalabhavan Mani, Aswin too is a National Award winner.

When the National film awards for 1999 were recently declared, Malayalam Cinema did itself proud by bagging 14 awards. One among these awards went to Master Aswin, who was judged the best Child artist of the year for his performance in T.K.Rajeev Kumar’s 'Jalamarmaram', which also won the award for the best film on environmental subject. Award is not a new thing for Aswin. He had already got the Film Critics Award, Viewers' Award and the Lux Asianet Award, for his role in Saaphalyam. Still a National Award is something really special and naturally Aswin is very happy about it.

As a child Aswin had done programmes like fancy dress shows etc. on the stage and that incidentally served as a launching pad for his talent. He got the chance to work in a tele-serial 'Kalpitham' directed by Adam Ayub. His talent was noted by many and consequently when noted director Rajeev Anchal made the much acclaimed 'Guru', Aswin was given a role; not a full- fledged role, but one which was an integral part of the theme. Then followed many other films-Manthrikumaran, Godman, Saaphalyam, Priyam, Captain and finally Jalamarmaram. In the meantime he had also done certain tele-films like Mazhameghangal. And it is Saaphalyam which this little star had most enjoyed working in. When asked the reason Aswin finds it difficult to explain why, and simply says, "…..because it was a good film" and blinks his eyes with an innocent smile. "The producer Mr. Unni (Kireedom Unni) and the director G.S.Vijayan, all were very much encouraging and helped Aswin perform well in that film", recollects Aswin’s mother Lathika who is a teacher.

Jalamarmaram presents the issue of environmental pollution, interspersed with the myth of the mermaid - all through the perspective of a child. And it is this child, the pivotal character, that Aswin has played to perfection. Aswin’s forthcoming films are Kamal’s Madhuranombarakattu, which is to be released shortly and G.S.Vijayan’s Suresh Gopi-Tabu starrer Cover Story, the shooting of which is currently going on.

"Doesn’t this busy shooting schedule affect his studies?"... "No", says Aswin emphatically. His mother adds, "Usually the films Aswin acts in are shot in and around Thiruvananthapuram. During films which are shot elsewhere, his father, who is a Chartered Accountant goes with him and I being a teacher myself, keep a track of the things taught in his school and we both help him study those portions later. The school authorities too are very encouraging."

This little star, who is a hot favourite among his school mates and teachers, nurtures in his heart dreams of becoming a star when he grows up and even dreams of the day when he’d , as a grown-up man, win a National Award for the best actor.

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