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My father is my favourite actor - Sudhir Karamana
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For the new generation, the name Sudhir Karamana may not mean anything. Moreover, not being one among the big league of actors, Sudhir Karamana may not even be identified by them as an actor worth reckoning. However, on close observation his features would remind you of someone whose face must be imprinted in your memory ? the face of the inimitable Karamana Janardhanan Nair, the late actor who breathed life into characters of all shades on stage as well as in films, and won wide acclaim especially for the role of the protagonist in Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s Elipaththayam.

Karamana, as Janardhanan Nair was usually referred to, may not be a familiar name for those of the new generation, but his face would be familiar to them, as he had been an integral part of films of all kinds - mainstream commercial ones and well as offbeat, arty ones. And now, Sudhir Karamana, the son of this highly talented and acclaimed actor, is all set to keep alive the tradition of acting, held aloft by the gifted father.

Sudhir, who got noticed playing a goonda named Pambu Vasu in the M. Padmakumar-directed Vaasthavam (the film that won for Prithviraj the State Award for the best actor last year), made his acting debut, much earlier on the small screen and is now getting busier on the big screen. The young actor, haling from Karamana in Thiruvananthapuram, speaks about himself and his roles and about his gifted father in an interview given to Unni Nair of nowrunning.com on the sets of Thalappavu, the Madhupal-directed film in which he does a meaty role. Excerpts:

Let us begin with Thalappavu. Tell us about your character in the film.

It’s a full-length character. The name is Nalinakshan. Nalinakshan taps toddy for a living and is the neighbour of Raveendran Pillai (played by Lal), one of the protagonists. Nalinakshan is there as an integral part of whatever happens in the life of Raveendran Pillai - be it joy, sorrow, some celebration or even a domestic quarrel. It’s a well conceived, well developed character, and I portray it in two different ages. Babuji (the scenarist Babu Janardhanan) has etched it out in a very sensitive manner.

And now over to Pambu Vasu, the role that you did in Vaasthavam and which was noted by many who saw the film. How was it, doing the character?

The character of Pambu Vasu too was a notable one, though the character appeared in very few scenes in the film. The relevance that the character had as far as the development of the plot was concerned, and the life-like touch that the scenarist Babu Janardhanan and director M. Padmakumar had given to it, made the character stand out. And it was because it was a well etched-out role that I was able to do it that well.

Tell us about your beginnings as an actor.

I made my beginning in a tele-film directed by Bharath Gopi, whom I call Gopi Uncle. The tele-film was titled Maraviyude Manam. The tele-film and my character, named Ananthan, were well received.

And then?

Then I did a G.S. Vijayan-directed tele-serial, in which I did a negative role. After that I played a dumb person in Lenin Rajendran’s film Rathrimazha, which is yet to be released though it won many state awards last year.

And then to Vaasthavam?

Yes. The character of Parunthu Subair that I played in the G.S. Vijayan-directed tele-serial of course made me familiar with television viewers, but it was with Vaasthavam that I started getting noted by film lovers too. After Vaasthavam, I did a character in Kichamani MBA. Unfortunately, because of many reasons, the character didn’t come out well and the film too didn’t get noted much. And now, on to Thalappavu, which I am sure, will get me more mileage.

How does it feel to be the son of an actor who was so well acclaimed?

It’s great. I am proud to be known as the son of Karamana Janardhanan Nair. At the same time, I do understand that people expect me also to rise to the standards set by him, at least those who have known him and admired him. This is a sort of benchmark that I have to keep in my mind while pursuing my acting career.

So, do you focus your attention fully on your acting career?

I cannot do that, though acting is a passion I inherited no doubt from my father. I have also been inspired by many of my father’s friends and co-actors too. But I have another profession too. I am at present the Principal of a School in Thiruvananthapuram and as such, my attention should be focused there too. That’s my profession and acting is my passion, something that is there in my blood.

Who is your favourite actor?

No doubt my father, the late Karamana Janardhanan Nair. I am also an admirer of Gopi Uncle (Bharath Gopi), Thilakan uncle, Nedumudi Venu uncle and others.

So, what next?

At present, I am focusing my attention on Thalappavu and my responsibilities as a Principal. The future, as far as my acting career is concerned, will follow its course. Anyway, my decision is to do only good roles. And I aspire to work in films by people whom I adore and respect the most, some of them my father’s peers and friends, including Adoor uncle and Gopi uncle.
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