Nivin Pauly:I was a backbencher like George but my wife was a class topper
Even before the celebrations over Vadakkan Selfie died down, Premam created history by breaking all box office records. What are your thoughts now?
I do think about it. With regard to Premam, I have been involved in the project right from its inception. So when such a film makes history it indeed gives me pleasure and pride. I do enjoy success when it happens but I don’t let it get to my head. I refuse to stay in its hangover for long and soon get involved in what lies ahead. I am the same person as before, and still go out as usual. But I am someone who enjoys my private space and so don’t enjoy it beyond a point when people recognise me or want to click a selfie with me.
Were you like George of Premam during your college days?
A bit like him, yes. Actually many of the characters and scenes in that film are taken from our own lives or our friends’ lives. I was a backbencher like the George character in college. And I was a bit of a slacker, not at all a ‘padippist.’ Also, there wasn’t a Mary ever, and I didn’t fall in love with my teacher like George! My wife was my classmate. (laughs)
How did your wife fall in love with a backbencher?
I guess it’s because she really liked me a lot. She was a ‘padippist’ the class topper, in fact. Isn’t that how it should be? For the right balance, one should be a topper and the other a slacker! (laughs). But jokes apart, she was in full support of my dream of becoming an actor. She was someone who is quite mature in her thinking, and knew how serious I was about films.
Your moustache twirling act in the movie has brought about comparisons with Mohanlal…
I am not someone who can be compared with Mohanlal. Even if I do 200 films, I won’t reach anywhere near that. None with common sense will compare the two of us. But if anyone got reminded of him, I am happy. Neither the moustache twirling nor the white mundu was planned. We were all wearing jeans initially, and it was an on the spot decision to try out mundu instead to get a more naadan look. And in real life I have a habit of twirling my moustache if I grow one. I was just doing it as usual, and it was incorporated into the scene.
Om Shanti Oshana, 1983, Bangalore Days, and now Oru Vadakkan Selfie and Premam. How do you manage to pick and choose the would-be hits? Is it because you choose the common man roles?
I don’t know. It just happens that when I listen to a script, I get a feeling the film will be a success and then I just go with the flow. And no, I don’t deliberately select common man roles. Among the roles which come to me, the ones I like are those with common man characters or such scripts. It’s only later that I realise the film was made from a common man’s point of view, which everyone can relate to.
Your FB posts are often verses from the Bible…
I believe in God. I am not a regular but when I get time, I go to church and sit alone and pray. I say thanks and also, I pray my next film goes well. Rather, that things go on as they do now!
What are you working on now?
Currently, I am doing Action Hero Biju. It revolves around the incidents in the life of a Sub-inspector. It is a film which aims to be perfect in the technical side and it’s also my first venture into production. A Tamil film is also in the pipeline as well as a Malayalam film to be directed by someone from the Premam team. I will be taking up whichever gets scripted first.
Any particular role you want to do next?
I have said this before; I have always wanted to do a villain character. I have never been able to do it in its full glory. My character in Da Thadiya had negative shades but it wasn’t a 100 percent villain. The kind of character I wish for is a full length character with a bit of heroism. I have often been inspired by Batman’s Joker.