Wanted to stay in Pankaj Hotel like Mammootty: Vikram’s emotional speech on early days

The actor and other members of Mani Ratnam’s upcoming ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ crew were in Thiruvananthapuram for the film’s promotion.
Vikram speaking at a Ponniyin Selvan promotion event
Vikram speaking at a Ponniyin Selvan promotion event
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Tamil star Vikram had worked in quite a few Malayalam films in the early 1990s, appearing in small roles. Standing on stage in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on Tuesday, September 20 for the promotion of his upcoming Mani Ratnam film Ponniyin Selvan: 1, Vikram spoke about those early days, when hardly anyone recognised him as an actor and he could not afford anything more than a small lodge for accommodation. The open auditorium, packed with hundreds of fans, erupted into loud cheers and applause as he spoke in Malayalam.

“Long time ago, in the early 90s, when maybe some of you were not even born, I had just acted in a [Tamil] film called Meera. It was only my second film. At the time, [Malayalam] director Joshiy, through his manager Shanmugham, said that he would like me to do a character called Bhadran in his movie Dhruvam,” Vikram said, and on cue, loud applause followed.

The 1993 film Dhruvam starred Mammootty in the lead and had Jayaram and Gauthami playing important characters. Vikram was also noticed for his role as Bhadran, who becomes a close aide to Mammootty’s Mannadiar. “Those days, Mammukka would be staying in Hotel Pankaj (one of the posh hotels in Thiruvananthapuram) and I would be in my small lodge. I used to think that one day I would also stay in Pankaj. And when I went out for a walk, hardly anyone recognised me. Only once someone identified me as Vikram and waved, but didn’t come to talk to me,” Vikram said.

Years passed and as Vikram gained stardom, he also acquired a fan following in Kerala, much like other Tamil stars who have fans associations among Malayalis. Listening to the hundreds calling out his name on Tuesday, Vikram said, “I didn’t get to stay in Pankaj but now I’m staying in an even better hotel here. And back then if one person identified me, now there are so many of you calling my name, supporting me. I can’t be happier. Even if I have not done a Malayalam film in so many years, you celebrate my work so much. I love that,” he said.

Watch: Scene from Dhruvam

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