'I enjoy promoting new directors'

New Territory

'I enjoy promoting new directors'

Though debuting in Sandalwood, Mammootty says he is not a stranger to this industry. Having been following Kannada films closely for many years, he admits that he may not know all the newcomers by name but he sure does know veterans like Rajkumar. And Vishnuwardhan, with whom he had earlier worked in the Telugu film Kankanam. “I also used to hear a lot from the heroines with whom I have worked, as they have shared screen space with them as well,” says Mammootty, who was in the City recently.

So what took him so long to take up a Kannada film? “Many directors came forward with scripts for me. In fact, Rajendra Singh Babu was very keen on getting me on board. It’s not that I was reluctant or anything but I just couldn’t do it,” he says.

Finally, it was the two line SMS sent by a relatively new director, Abhaya Simha, that got Mammootty hooked. “After reading the SMS, I asked him to send a brief synopsis and that’s when I knew that I had to be part of this project. So I asked him to get a producer and I am in,” he adds.

Introducing and supporting new age directors are what Mammootty is known for and he has been doing it for almost 10 to 15 years. He candidly admits that this has become a habit for him. “I enjoy promoting new directors as I can use their new vision about me. At the same time, I also feel selfish about it as it will help me explore new dimensions, which ultimately will help my career,” he smiles.

Shikari, he says, is a film which will see him in a double role. Not divulging too much about it, he explains, “I play the role of a software engineer who falls in love with a character in a novel.” The film, which will also be simultaneously made in Malayalam, is great news, says Mammootty. “As an actor, one must be available to all kinds of directors and stories. Cross-border films like these should be encouraged. As it not only helps an actor grow but also helps the viewer realise how similar our cultures really are,” he says while adding, “And when one gets close to one another’s art forms, one can see that none of us are strangers but belong to the same terrain.”

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