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Kannur Squad’s Manohar Pandey: ‘I am glad viewers have noticed my improvisations’

Manohar Pandey - who is known for his performance in Super 30 and Gangubai Kathiawadi - played a crucial role in Mammootty starrer Kannur Squad

Kannur Squad’s Manohar Pandey: ‘I am glad viewers have noticed my improvisations’
Manohar Pandey (L), Manohar Pandey in a still from Kannur Squad

Last Updated: 09.57 AM, Oct 07, 2023


Kannur Squad, starring Mammootty, has captivated audiences with its compelling storyline and impressive performances. Shot in various locations across the country, the police procedural boasts a diverse cast too. The Tikri village scene is particularly memorable, and it’s been spoken about even more than the film’s climax. Tension builds from the moment the squad enters the village, transitioning from silence to commotion. At times, the audience may even believe that everything is over, but the unexpected second phase adds to the excitement. The actor who plays Pawan bhaiya in this scene steals the show, despite his brief appearance. Manohar Pandey has some exciting things to say about the making of Kannur Squad. Excerpts from an exclusive chat with OTTplay:

Q. How did you land a role in Kannur Squad?

A. I auditioned for Pawan’s character when director Roby Varghese Raj visited Mumbai. Although he didn’t have a script at that time, he provided me with a thorough briefing. It’s difficult to assess an actor’s performance without the director seeing them in person.

In the case of Kannur Squad, the director attended the auditions, which was a great advantage. In Bollywood, it’s usually the casting directors who interact with the actors, and it can be a challenging process to secure a role in Hindi films. Patience is key in Bollywood.

Manohar Pandey
Manohar Pandey

Q. The fight sequences in the film were crucial to establish the character of Pawan. Did you at any point find those sequences arduous?

A. I wanted to perform the fight sequences myself. Having received physical training from drama school, I felt confident in my flexible body. However, Roby suggested that I use a stunt double. But despite that, I was determined to do it myself. When everyone is giving their 100% to the film, how could I not do the same?

Q. You have acted in films like Super 30 and Gangubai Kathiawadi. Tell us about the experience of your first Malayalam film...

A. Kannur Squad is my first Malayalam film. And from Day 1, I noticed that the cast and crew members are not just working, but are totally devoted to making a great film. During the shoot, the director allowed me complete creative freedom to improvise on Pawan’s character. In this movie, I had the opportunity to work with people who are very passionate about their work.

Q. How was it working with Mammootty?

A. Honestly, although Mammootty is a superstar, it was easy to work with him as an actor. There was a car sequence in which Mammootty sir took a 360-degree turn and pulled me into the car. The scene went very smoothly without any mishaps, because it was one of the scenes that required good timing. After that shot, Mammootty sir came to me and lauded my performance. I have watched his films like Bheeshma Parvam. He is a fantastic actor.

Manohar Pandey
Manohar Pandey

Q. Any actor who has inspired you to choose acting as a career?

A. Acting giant Irrfan Khan comes to my mind when we talk about inspiration. He also came from a film institute background. I like him as an actor, but want to explore myself without following his acting. Nawazuddin Siddiqui has also inspired me. Nawazuddin is an actor who likes to work on his character a lot. I am also passionate about the characters that I portray in films, and am willing to go to great lengths to embody a character fully.

Q. What were your contributions to Pawan’s character in addition to the script?

A. Most of the dialogues and mannerisms of Pawan are my improvisations. Roby gave me full freedom to deliver my version of Pawan on screen. Pawan is an arrogant character, who enjoys teasing the police officers during interrogations. There is a scene where he mocks them and the police officers end up fighting with each other. This bit was not there in the original script. I received a lot of positive feedback about that smile and am pleased that audiences have noticed those small details I had added to the character.

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