Prithviraj has made an impact in every character he has played, right from his debut movie Nandanam to the recent Vimaanam. His baritone set the tone for Anjali Menon's first feature film, Manjadikuru. And now, fans are all excited to welcome him in Menon’s third feature film as a director, Koode. In an exclusive interview with Sify.com, Prithivraj talks about a unique experiment during the Koode shoot, his love for Nazriya and his hopes to see more women working in cinema.
How different was your creative process in Koode? We hear you worked with an English script... and that you improvised on the dialogues as you went along.
That is right. That is probably what was the most different in terms of creative process in Koode.
Anjali refused to give me the Malayalam script.Why it was different for me was that every other actor had a Malayalam script. So I was left in a spot where not only did I have to make my lines on the spot, but also, I did not know what the other actors were going to say. So that was different. That was refreshing.
I think it led to a lot of organically evolved moments in the film. It is not a process that every filmmaker can take on, Anjali did it successfully. It’s is not something that I would recommend to other filmmakers. All credit to Anjali for pulling it off!
We all know you’re a motor enthusiast. In many of the stills and posters from Koode, you share space with a van... What’s with that?
Well, I really can’t be telling you why the van is an important character in the film.
But like Anjali has mentioned before, part of the film has the characteristics of a road movie, and it is about a journey as much as anything else. The journey is obviously in this van, and the van has a story.
Why the van is an important character in Joshua and Jenny’s life, and other little snippets about the movie, I’d much rather the viewers discover it when they see the film.
Koode is said to be about relationships. How did your work in the film impact you as a person?
I knew Parvathy before, I knew Ranjith before, I knew Anjali before – So I think the discovery that I made during the film was Nazriya. In fact, strange as it might sound, I hadn’t even met Nazriya before the shooting. I am somebody who does not make friends very easily.
I don’t know what it is about Nazriya. With her it took, I think, two minutes. And we really did develop a deep bond amongst us. She is like my baby sister now. So more than anything, if there is a takeaway from this movie as a person, I think it is my relationship with Nazriya.
How was it acting with Nazriya? Do you wish you had a sister in real life?
See, that is an exercise as an actor. I have done that before, I can do that again. But to be able to strike a chord with an actor off screen like I have been able to with Nazriya, that does not happen very often.
From Manjadikuru to Koode: What are the differences you see in Anjali's work style? As a soon-to-be director yourself, what are the qualities you would want to imbibe from her?
The biggest compliment that I can give is that I see absolutely no change in Anjali from Manjadikuru to Koode. Why I mean that as a compliment is, she approaches each one of her films with so much conviction, and I don’t think I have met any other filmmaker who is so personally involved with the characters she has created. I know that she cries with Joshua, that she laughs with Jenny, I know she feels with Sophie. I know that most filmmakers do this, but Anjali does it at a level that is quite proprietary.
If there is one quality that I need to imbibe from Anjali that I do not have, I think it is patience.
Congratulations on completing 100 movies at a very young age. What would you rate as your best movies?
I really can’t pick one and if I go ahead and name a few, I am sure a few others who have written wonderful characters will be disappointed. So I’d rather not pick and name a few, but I have been lucky enough to have given my face and body to some outstanding characters over the years in Malayalam cinema. I hope I am able to keep doing it.
If you could remake one of your father's movies, which one would it be?
There is more than one, but if I HAD to pick one, may be Bandhanam.
You recently announced that you will not be part of a movie that might offend women. Have you had to turn down offers, has it been hard to find a script post that?
Frankly, I have not heard a script that doesn’t fit that definition. Maybe, they just don’t come to me.
Why do you think we have only a few women directors in Malayalam?
Good question, I would go further and ask, why do we have so few women technicians in India? I know you can off the hook name a Zoya Akhtar, an Anjali Menon - but let us face it - the ratio is not very encouraging, is it?
I am surprised actually. In most cases, when I have had a chance to work with a woman director, it really has been an enriching experience. The perspective that women bring into relationships on-screen is really refreshing. I hope women, girls start seeing cinema as a career option. It really is an exciting career and it is a wonderful place to work in.
I know the world of cinema has a lot of perceptions attached to it. But trust me, if you are in the right kind of cinema and if you are in the right kind of world within cinema it is a wonderful place to work in. I am not saying it is easy, it is a lot of hard work, it is a lot of commitment but I really am looking to working with more women directors and technicians for that matter.
Nazriya is back! Watch the first Koode teaser