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Exclusive! Sudev Nair: For Pathonpatham Noottandu, Siju and I had to put our bodies on the line

The State Award-winning actor talks about his upcoming movies that include Mammootty’s Bheeshmaparvam, Tovino Thomas’ Vazhakku and Nivin Pauly’s Thuramukham

Sanjith Sidhardhan
Sep 06, 2021
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Sudev Nair

Since winning the Kerala State Award for the Best Actor in My Life Partner, Sudev Nair has been increasingly slotted as an antagonist. His latest films – Pathonpathaam Noottandu, Thuramukham, Vazhakku and Bheeshmaparvam – have him making the best of what he’s offered. In a quick chat with OTTplay, Sudev talks about his upcoming films and how he is enjoying this phase of his career.

What were the challenges of playing the antagonist Padaveedan Nambi in director Vinayan’s Pathonpathaam Noottandu?

I was basically cast because of my physique and action skills. So, I was already in that flow when I became part of the movie. It has a lot of action scenes; while it was fun, none of us escaped unhurt. I got six stitches after an action sequence.

Pathonpathaam Noottandu is a film that is made on a big canvas, but it doesn’t have huge stars attached to it. So, the working atmosphere must have been different from the other big-budget films such as Mamangam you had done earlier.

Yes, totally. Also, Vinayan sir has envisioned this film in a totally different way. Siju Wilson has worked really hard to achieve his transformation. He has been working day in and day out for the movie. But Vinayan sir also deserves huge credit for visualising that Siju can look like this and having full faith in him. Also, the kind of action we did for the movie, we needed young, hungry blood and that’s why it works when you don’t have stars. We had to put out bodies on the line. Siju and I were raring to go and had so much fire inside us, and I guess that’s what Vinayan sir had also seen.

Did you have to do any research for the role considering that the film is set in the 19th century?

Not really, that’s the best part of working with experienced writer-directors; all the research was taken care of by Vinayan sir. As an actor, that burden was not on me at all and I had to just ask him questions whenever I had doubts about certain scenes.

You also have another period drama, Thuramukham. Your physical appearance again plays a huge role in the Rajeev Ravi directorial.

For that film, I had to do a lot of research because I had to put on a lot of weight, then lose it again. I play different phases of my character’s life in that. I play the main antagonist. Around three months before the film’s shoot, Rajeevettan decided to cast me. He called me and said that I have full freedom to do what I want to do with the character, except that they were planning to shoot the older portions first and I had to put on some weight. He told me that he would pass me the numbers of the make-up and costume team and I could decide what to do with my character. That call motivated me so much. I haven’t done a proper acting role for so long and for this film, I had to get into the skin of the character and got to do everything from scratch. I completely dedicated myself to the role after that.

You are also part of Mammootty’s Bheeshmaparvam, which is directed by Amal Neerad. How excited were you working in the film, which is hugely anticipated because of the duo teaming up again after Big B?

It had a start-stop schedule, but we have resumed shooting now. That’s another film in which I look drastically different. It’s a stylised movie and I look completely different from my other films. The atmosphere again, for an actor, is so relaxed. Amal doesn’t give you instructions. He only guides you and so it was a different experience for me. I can’t reveal much, but I got to work with some legendary actors for my track in the movie.

You also have two Kannada movies coming up – 21 Hours and Old Monk.

They are again two different kinds of films. 21 Hours is more of a realistic thriller while Old Monk, in which I play a villain, is more like a Telugu movie – it has style and comedy. As for talking in Kannada, I found a method to get around the handicap of the language. I had people holding up placards on which I wrote my lines.

The pandemic is also a tricky time for actors where you might have committed to a lot of films but not all of them are going on floors.

After the first lockdown, I was extremely busy for some time because all the pending films were getting cleared. With the second lockdown, that entire momentum broke and now, we are picking up again. 

I am excited about Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s Vazhakku, in which Tovino Thomas, Kani Kusruti and I play the lead characters. Sanal chettan’s direction style is different; shooting for the film was almost like doing live theatre with extraordinarily long takes. The way he has shot it and its sound design, from the footage I have watched, I can say it’s going to be an extraordinary film. I also have one more movie titled Khedda, which is directed by State Award-winning director Manoj Kana.

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