With his boyish smile, innocent talk and the habit of eating and gifting toffees, Prem Kishan not only stole the heart of Prabha (Poornima Jayaram) in ‘Manjil V irinja Pookal’ but also of every Malayali.
He was the most sought-after romantic hero of the 80s, giving back-to-back hits including ‘Kadathu’ opposite Roja Ramani, ‘Oothikachiya Ponnu’ with Poornima Jayaram and ‘Ente Mohangal Poovaninju’, to name a few. And, 34 years down the lane, the actor-director is gearing up for another innings with his second directorial venture ‘Sand City’.
“It is a bi-lingual movie. Initially, we had planned it in Tamil, but since the story can be related by Malayali audience too, we decided to make it in Malayalam as well,” says the actor whose first directorial debut was ‘Keralotsavam 2009’. The Tamil remake is titled ‘Manal Nagaram’.
On the real-life inspired film, Shankar says: “Sand City’ narrates the life of people living in West Asian countries. The film is about the dreams, aspirations and struggle of five youngsters from various walks of life sharing a common home in UAE.”
It zooms into the life of Mansoor, a hard working salesman who doesn’t restrict himself to a single job; Anand, a civil engineer who has just reached UAE in search of a job, and James, a carefree person who likes to make some extra bucks the easiest way.
“It is a serious story with a tinge of thriller element. But, it is equally a commercial entertainer,” says Shankar who will be playing a character in the movie. He will be seen donning the role of Ibrahim Rappani, a rich businessman in Dubai and father of the one of the lead lady in the film.
VJ-turned-actor Prajin will be seen as Mansoor while Gautham Krishna will play Anand. Thanishka and Varuna Shetty will play the lead ladies.
Ask the 54-year-old actor whether acting or direction interests him the most, he says: “Acting is always my passion, but direction was always in my mind. The long stint in the industry has made me confident as direction is extremely creative and interesting. It is not just about calling the shots but a director should have a clear scene-to-scene sense about everything.”
Taking a break
Before Mohanlal and Mammootty began to reign, Shankar reigned the roost. He played the lead in ‘Padayottam’, ‘Anuragakodathy’, ‘Kaliyamardanam’, ‘Sandhyakku Virinja Poovu’, ‘Ente Kalithozan’, ‘Arante Mulla Kochu Mulla’ and ‘Muthodu Muthu’ which were the hits of 1983.
The actor also gave break to directors like Priyadarsan and T S Suresh Babu with ‘Poochakkoru Mookkuthi’ and ‘Itha Innu Muthal’ in 1984. It was while he was doing four to five films a month that he decided to take a break from MTown. He says, “I was doing lot of films at that time. Most of them were romantic roles and I was stereotyped. I wanted to do something different and rejected many roles because of that.”
As an experimentation, he did a horror movie, adventure movie and even characters with grey shades like the one in ‘Kizhakkunarum Pakshi’. “Unfortunately, people didn’t accept me in those roles,” he says. “We all have a good time and now I accept that it was a mistake to take a break at the peak time of my career. I should, instead, have selected films more wisely,” he adds.
The actor who made a comeback with movies like ‘Ividam Swargamaanu’, ‘Casannova’, was noted for his character in ‘Hotel California’. “I would like to do different roles that suits my age,” says Shankar who will be seen as a police officer in the upcoming movie, helmed by Jayaraj Vijay titled Viswasam Athalle Ellam’.
Now, Shankar is anxiously waiting the release of ‘Sand City’ on January 2. The Kollywood remake will hit the screens during Pongal.