Alencier's first stint with the big screen as an actor happened two decades ago, with Daya (1998). But it took another 15 years for him to be recognised with Annayum Rasoolum (2013).
Whilst this might be too long a wait for anybody, Alencier is not one to fret. He is a content actor, confessing he never for once contemplated any other job. That doesn't mean he went around asking for work too - the only person he approached was director Kamal but the meeting ended rather
awkwardly. But, in the last few years, Alencier has grown to be a powerhouse actor, his space
unchallenged. And, the latest State Award for the Best Character Actor only establishes the fact.
In a tete-a-tete with Express, the actor talks about his approach to work and activism.
You have won an honour for your portrayal of ASI Chandran in Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum. Share your feelings.
It is definitely an honour, but not exactly unexpected. I had a feeling that I might get an award for this because ever since the movie released, I have been winning awards for the portrayal of that character. So, somewhere in my mind, I knew this would happen.
The character itself had myriad shades, yet very relatable.
That's right. One reason why I could sink my teeth into the character is because we had a similar journey. I have been to police stations before and I have met quite a few people like ASI Chandran. Then, the contribution of real-life cops helped. We would have rehearsals and there would be a give-and-take process. The character evolved in me every day. I really believe that is how we should approach art. There is no competition here, rather a friendly process where we learn by exchanging.
With the award, do you feel all the hard work and passion has been rewarded?
I don't think of this in that way. Not once did I think of any other profession than acting. But, I am not someone who would spend everything to pursue that. I am rather unplanned that way, leading an insecure life. It was my connections in the industry that led me here. My friends Anwar Ali and Jose Thomas introduced me to director Venu and that's how I did Daya. Rajeev Ravi was introduced to me by writer Gopan Chidambaram. And, it was after Njan Steve Lopez that industry began to take note of me. Even when I was doing theatre, my teachers Raghu sir and Narendra Prasad taught me to do my work and not to expect rewards. So, it was all natural and I just went with the flow.
People expect a lot from you. Do you think you should be taking up only meaty roles?
I am someone who came very late to the scene. I have led a very insecure life and I don't think I should be selective about anything at this point. Even financial security is important (laughs). However, one year down the line, I may think about it seriously. That said, even now I only take up roles that satisfy me. My first criterion is whether I am satisfied. I believe if the actor is satisfied, the audience will naturally be too.
You are an activist too. Do you fear that your stance on issues may jeopardise your career?
In fact, there are people who fear my outright stance might create issues. Many within the industry and my family tell me to focus only on work. I listen to them, take suggestions but do only what I think is right. This is me, and this is the only way I can be myself.