After starring in more than 400 movies, Mammootty still doesn’t take the tag of ‘superstar’ seriously. He doesn’t he take it for granted either.
“Stardom is not a position. You are not acquiring it. It is imposed on you that ‘you are a star’. You should not take it to your mind,” said the actor, who at 67 is set to feature in mega-budget Malayalam period drama ‘Mamangam’.
After a brief appearance in 1971 film ‘Anubhavangal Paalichakal’ and 1973’s ‘Kalachakram’, Mammootty’s movie career officially started with ‘Vilkkanundu Swapnangal’ in 1980. Since then, he has shown his calibre and versatility with a vast repertoire of movies.
Before his ‘lights, camera, action’ moment, Mammootty was a lawyer for a few years.
“I wanted to become an actor, and accidentally I became a lawyer for a while,” Mammootty said, not showing any sign of fatigue from his night shoot for ‘Mamangam’. “But I was still trying to get into films and act. I tried and got my first chance. I was struggling only for my first chance. And then everything came my way.”
The actor, born Mohammad Kutty Paniparambil Esmail, enjoys a wide fan base in India, especially in the south. But he doesn’t let it go to his head.
“As an actor, you have to reinvent yourself... You can correct yourself only when you find your mistakes,” he said.
Talking about failure, the actor said: “I am not scared, but that affects me. You can only win when you fail. You can be successful when you lose it.”
Over the years, Mammootty has donned several avatars and moulded his on-screen image as per the demand of his films. But drawing a line between his reel and real self is not easy.
“Being yourself is different from being an actor. It is actually a struggle between yourself, your persona and the character’s persona. Sometimes you will fail to be successful to overcome your persona to be the character. When you overcome your persona to be the character, then you are a successful actor.
“It happens with every actor and it happens to me as well. Sometimes I am successful and sometimes I am not,” the star said.
And that’s the reason he describes himself as a “growing actor”.
Have all the years spent in the industry changed him as a person?
“My personal life is entirely different. I play different characters. My personality is the same. I don’t change it,” he said.
After earning accolades in his most recent film ‘Unda’, where he plays a police officer, Mammootty is excited about M Padmakumar’s ‘Mamangam’, which will narrate a true story around the medieval festival called Mamangam. He will be seen playing a mysterious character with multiple looks.
Said to be the biggest Malayalam film in terms of the budget and expanse, the project showcases a wide action sequence of martial art Kalaripayattu.
The film will tell a story of one great real hero and one unknown hero. The action sequences are choreographed by Sham Kaushal.
The project, slated to release later this year, will release in Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. It is produced by Venu Kunnappilly of Kavya Films.
On the film, Mammootty said: “What excited me was the role offered to me and the historical importance of the story.
“It happens in the 15th and 16th century in north Kerala... There were braver and bolder people and their sacrifice must be known to the new generation. And my role is also interesting.”
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‘Unda’ is out now in the UAE.