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Saiju Kurup: I love to essay all kinds of roles

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The Mollywood actor on his upcoming thriller Guardian that releases on New Year and what keeps him ticking

Saiju Kurup cannot ask for a more delightful way to ring in the new year. With the ups and downs of 2020 behind, the Mollywood actor opens another chapter in his 15-year career in tinseltown with a lead role in Guardian that goes for a direct OTT release on the New Year day.

Guardian is a psycho crime-thriller, but it is also a family entertainer. At its heart is an intriguing investigation. Since it is a thriller, I would not want to reveal more about the flick other than that I play Dr Arun Jacob. Well, I may or may not be the killer on the loose,” says Saiju over phone from Ernakulam. Written and directed by Satheesh Paul (Fingerprint, Kaattu Vithachavar), Guardian, which has Mia George and Sijoy Varghese in prominent cop roles, releases on Prime Reels.

A still from Guardian

The actor says as a genre, he likes investigation thrillers, with the acclaimed 1988 Mammootty-starrer Oru CBI Diary Kurippu right on top of his all-time favourites. “Another favourite of mine is KG George’s Yavanika,” he says.

Saiju’s first release of 2020 was Tovino Thomas-starrer Forensic where he played the protagonist’s emotionally troubled brother. Then his notable performance of the year came with the experimental ‘screen film’ C U Soon with Fahadh Faasil in the lead, which had an OTT première during the pandemic. He says the lockdown period was rather one of “boredom” until he resumed shooting mid-September for a web series, Athaakshari. “Once the lockdown was announced in March, I did not really step out of the gates of my residence in Kochi, other than for essential supplies. As our maid could not visit us, I had to do the dishes and manage household chores all by myself (laughs). But I had no real uncertainties otherwise,” says the Alappuzha native.

Saiju Kurup

Saiju is keenly awaiting the release of his upcoming films, which includes Pidikittapulli, Mohankumar Fans, Lalitham Sundaram, Meppadiyan, Nizhal and Upachaarapoorvam Gunda Jayan, where he plays the lead again.

Saiju hopes that theatres will soon open in Kerala. But with two of his films (C U Soon and Guardian) already going for direct OTT releases, how does he view the future of movie releases? “My profession is acting and it does not really matter much to me if it is drama, serial, tele-cinema, feature film or web series as long as I’m able to act well and keep it going. However, I do understand that each platform has its own reach and modus operandi. I feel that once theatres open and the pandemic is under control, cinema lovers will gradually start flocking to the theatres. OTT platforms will still be there. So it is a good opportunity over all for all kinds of cinema,” he explains.

The actor, who is perhaps more noted for his humour on screen, says he loves to essay all kinds of roles though he finds taking up serious characters comparatively easier. “Pulling off comedy is much harder than you think. If the writing, the direction and the execution are not perfect, comedy can easily fall flat,” he points out.

Saiju, who made his début in 2005 with Mayookham directed by ace filmmaker T Hariharan, has also made appearances in Tamil with four films, including the hit Jayam Ravi-starrer Thani Oruvan.

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