Swinging from comedy to tragedy: Versatile actor Indrans interview

The veteran actor, who was part of ‘Veyil Marangal’ which won an award at the Shanghai International Film Festival, talks about his many upcoming movies.
Swinging from comedy to tragedy: Versatile actor Indrans interview
Swinging from comedy to tragedy: Versatile actor Indrans interview
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Putting his 38-year-old career aside, Indrans can easily walk into a hall full of people and merge among them, speaking to the many who recognise him, with that open smile of his. He has just been to the Shanghai International Film Festival as part of the Veyil Marangal team, that’s won the Outstanding Artistic Achievement award there. Back in Thiruvananthapuram, where he is settled with a family of four, the team was honoured at the International Documentary and Short Film Festival, that was going on then. Over a week later, Indrans is in a car, going for the shooting of the films he has been acting in, and to complete the dubbing of others he has finished.  

“I don’t know when I will be back, we can speak on the phone,” he says, but on the phone, he speaks lesser than in person. He is playing a few serious and a few comical characters in these films, Indrans says vaguely about the films he is travelling for. Pressed, he says, "It is another old character in Apara Sundara Neelakasham." He has been playing the serious old man in quite a few movies in recent years and one of these fetched him the State Award for Best Actor (Male) last year – as the talkative old man who goes in search of his missing son in Aalorukkam. He is later shown to turn quiet when he finds out that his son, who ran away from home 16 years ago, is a trans woman, happily married to a Tamilian and has a kid too.

Poster of Aalorukkam

Apara Sundara Neelakasham is another father-child story, this time it’s the relationship between a retired agriculture officer and his daughter. A poster of the movie shows an old picture of Indrans, as a young man in a silk shirt sitting next to a trophy. In the film, his character tries to write a novel after his retirement.

“It is a serious character, and so is the character in Anugraheethan Antony, as the father of the heroine,” Indrans says. Ever since the State Award, he has been getting more serious characters than the humorous roles for which he was famous in the '90s, mostly comedy based on his thin frame. One of his first prominent serious characters came through TV Chandran’s Kathavasheshan in 2004, where he played a thief.

Poster of Apara Sundara Neelakasham showing a young Indrans

In 2016, Indrans got noticed for his portrayal of the old man who is visited by his mysterious and dangerous grandson, in the film Mundrothuruth, directed by Manu. There came a series of serious characters following this: playing a farmer whose daughter elopes with a Muslim man in Makkana, a repairman on the street who goes in search of his address for his ID card in Lona, a man who loves to perform Theyyam but could not because he is ugly in Paathi, and a comedian idolising Charlie Chaplin in Bhudhanum Chaplinum Chirikunnu.

“I like doing comedy more,” he says, and these roles too do come by. In Varthakal Ithuvare, he will do comedy again, playing a small-time journalist. In Janamaithri, he will be an SI of police. There has also been a movie called Gramavasikal where he plays another ‘old family man’, he says, but he is not sure if it’s released. Then there is Dr Biju’s Veyil Marangal of course, that will show him as a Dalit man moving with his family from Kerala to Himachal Pradesh, but facing nature’s wrath in both places.

Muhabathil Kunjabdulla will again see him in the lead role, playing a 65-year-old going in search of his old lover. “Then there is Uriyadi, Sayahna Varthakal, and so on,” Indrans trails off. Movies have never stopped coming his way all through his career, through the many changes that Malayalam cinema witnessed. Ever since he quietly slipped into the 1981 film Choothattam, while being a costume designer.

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