Which is worse for an interviewer? An actor who refuses to answer any questions or one who flies into a rage and bites the head off him? Either way, both categories go viral in no time and YouTube is filled with examples of awkward interviews with superstars. Here’s a handy guide to interviewing some of Malayalam cinema’s biggest stars.
The usual deal: A friend, after watching a film promotional interview featuring the actor and his director (Marthandan), observed how it reminded him of a scene fromVidheyan—between the feudal lord and the slave.Arguably one of the most difficult actors to interview, Mammootty is a misfit in group promotional film interviews for three reasons—a) the overwhelmed/petrified host would be struggling to find words to eulogise him b) the Megastar, as if on cue would ideally bring all the attention to himself or interrupt others while talking, and c) the rest of the crew will be too frightened or obliged to put in a word or three about the fantastic privilege of working with their “Mammookka.”
The real deal:Mammootty is best when he is called for a serious face-to-face conversation. Like how we heard his candid and sensible perspective on life and films when he appeared on talk shows with Karan Thapar, Johny Lukose and Director Ranjith.
Our tip: Avoid gush, mush, and small talk with the actor. Straight to the point is the norm. And yes, do your homework.
The usual deal:Is in tune with his on-screen image—the humble, reclusive, man-next-door. Ask him a straight question and chances are that you won’t get a straight answer. He likes to beat around the bush, never allows you to read him, dodges the most debatable ones with a hint of philosophy, and often gives the impression of being bored. Contrary to his megastar pal, Lal seems to be at ease in group interviews—a) He is a man of few words b) listens to the quantum of gush with a sort of detached air, and c) prefers to let others talk.
The real deal: Mohanlal isn’t really the most articulate of actors and cannot be accused of coming up with quotable quotes. Even John Brittas, known for his sly interviewing skills, came out panting for breath when he appeared on his show.We think he will be more comfortable in the presence of actors and directors he has an equation with. Like this interview with Johny Lukose forNere Chowwealong with Priyadarshan.
Our tip: Persistence is the key.
The usual deal: Articulate, self-assured and borderline cocky, Prithviraj takes himself rather too seriously during interviews. Though he does seem to be on guard all the time, like he has carefully worded each line, the actor, for the most part is earnest when it comes to selling his films. It’s another matter that it often comes over as arrogance and gloating during most occasions.
The real deal: Has something to do with his mood swings, we think. And he sounds better in the company of his peers, like the promotional interviews for Amar Akbar Anthonywhich were fun. Ask him intelligent, pointed questions and he can be delightful company.
Our tip: Do your homework. Don’t get intimidated by his mood swings.
And we pick actors who bring their pleasant and unpleasant sides to the interviews
Fahad Faasil: Calm, poised and honest, Fahad Fasil talks with clarity and humility. He doesn’t mince words and almost never speaks like a star.
Parvathy: Her recent “candid” interviews are not to be mistaken for her real personality. Except for her outing with Johny Lukose, the actor gives the impression of trying too hard to sound like someone she isn’t. Superficial!
Rima Kallingal: Articulate and frank, Rima never dodges a single uncomfortable question. There are those who think her overtly feministic ideologies are a put-on but if you want an actress to tell it like it is, she is the best bet.
Manju Warrier: Warm, dignified, articulate, and politically correct, Manju Warrier is what one would call an intelligent conversationalist. Every word is logically measured and well thought-out and she speaks only when spoken to.
Dulquer Salmaan: He is the reverse of his superstar dad. Self-effacing, patient, polite and charming, Dulquer is the typical city-bred lad and is careful about putting his best foot forward to the extent of sounding dull.
Soubin Shahir: There isn’t much difference between his reel and real life. The same impish smile, the same foolhardiness, and a lot of honesty.
Vinayakan: He has given probably two or three interviews till date and each were pure gems. Genuine and perceptive
Murali Gopy: Being an ex-journalist it isn’t surprising that he comes up with intelligent, well-read and often profound responses.
Renji Panicker: Smart, no-nonsense replies, not very different from the fiery, quick-tongued heroes he created on screen.
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Fullpicture is an exclusive, comprehensive, online English magazine on Malayalam cinema, put together by a team of experienced journalists who share a passion for everything about Malayalam cinema. The idea is to put out well-written and well-researched features, exclusive interviews,...