The years of struggle that actor Joju George had to go through before recognition came his way has only made him stronger. And those experiences have helped him in becoming a better actor.
After receiving accolades for his performance in Joseph, Joju will be seen as one of the main leads in director Joshiy’s Porinju Mariyam Jose releasing in August. Joju, who will be working in Tamil director Karthik Subbaraj’s new film, talks about his career graph.
Edited excerpts from an interview:
How did life change for you post Joseph?
The platform I am standing on right now as an actor is so different from the one before Joseph. It is evident from the kind of subjects that I am being offered these days. Now, the directors with whom I always wanted to work with are offering me roles. The success of Joseph was crucial for me. I had taken a risk with it. If Joseph wasn’t a success, things would have been difficult for me as an actor. It would have affected me if my judgement about the project had gone wrong.
With roles of such varying shades, do you have a process of getting into the skin of a character?
I ask intensive questions about my characters. Besides talking to the director of that particular film, I collect the opinion of certain directors and writers who are close to me and mix their inputs with my own understanding. I prepare for my roles through such discussions. When I am doing characters that are totally different from who I am, I try to meet people who know such real-life characters.
Tell us about your new release, Porinju Mariyam Jose?
I have grown up watching Joshiy sir’s movies and to play one of the leads in his film is such an honour. I have worked as a junior artiste in some of his movies and, later, got to mouth dialogues in a few. It has been quite a while since we have seen such a high-energy entertainer like Porinju Mariyam Jose.
Who is your character Kattalan Porinju?
It is based on a real person and I have worked really hard to breathe life into him.
You play the lead in Chola, which has been selected for the Venice International Film Festival…
Sanal Kumar Sasidharan is a director with whom I have elaborate discussions about each of my films. It is a thriller that is gripping from start to finish. I consider Chola as one of the blessings in my life.
Currently I am doing Kamal KM’s Pada. I have signed a Tamil movie directed by Karthik Subbaraj, with Dhanush and Aiswarya Lekshmi. Then there is the Tamil version of Chola.
A few other really interesting projects are coming up too.
I decided to produce Joseph and Chola when the situation demanded that I do so, whereas for Charlie and Udaharanam Sujatha I was on board as the producer right from the start. I enjoy my role as a producer, though there is risk involved, as I can ensure the quality of the project.
As an actor, do you take any conscious effort to prevent being stereotyped?
No. I have done around five roles as a cop, including the one in Joseph recently. I don’t plan at all. If someone thinks that I am getting good characters because of my prudent selection, they are wrong. However, I give my all to each of the characters that I am offered.
You have struggled a lot before getting your due as an actor…
I still take medication for my anxiety problems. I went through an extremely distressing period for many years and faced many challenges. In that way my life has been really eventful, but maybe all that did make it beautiful as well.
Has success changed the equation for you?
I don’t believe in the conventional concept of success and, to me, it is perhaps just a by-product. When I first came into movies to seek my luck as an actor, I couldn’t even talk properly. It was when I was thrown out from the set of Stop Violence for not doing a scene properly that I realised my acting was not good enough. That was a lesson. Now my dream is to get good characters and to work with the best directors.
You received the Kerala State film award for the best character actor recently…
I want to get as many awards as I can. When I am old, those awards will testify how good I was as an actor. I don’t do anything else apart from acting. I made an impact in movies only after I was 35. If I want to enjoy this hard-earned acceptance, at least for a while, I can’t take it easy as an actor.