We are very glad to meet you personally after knowing you for all these years as the angry young man on screen?
“Yes, all those film were like constant ringing messages. I played a socially conscious character, as Bharat Chandran, twice till now. Frist in the movie Police Commissioner, almost eleven years back and now this will be like a cue for more sequels, carrying Bharat Chandran’s character forward. I think the response for this movie should be good considering how it has done in the Tamil and Malayalam industry. In fact the response should be greater here. I think I have around eight big hits in Telugu, including F.I.R., Journalist, Patram, CBI officer. When we reminded him that he had actually 12 big hits in Telugu, he said “Oh… (Smiling)I am ignorant. I think that is a great achievement for an actor especially for a south stuck Malayalam actor. I am very grateful to the Telugu audiences; they have been very loving towards me. They have definitely contributed in making me a star in Malaylam. See my market in Malayalam is market in Malayalam plus what amount of money gets pushed into the industry by me and by my films from Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu. Both these languages have played a considerably huge role in making me Suresh Gopi the actor, Suresh Gopi the performer, Suresh Gopi the market holder and Suresh Gopi the star. And when I think about films I think that the sky is the roof and the world under it. I love the world not Kerala or India or Asia. Everything is going global. I do not believe in the Telugus as belonging to Andhra, I believe in brotherhood.”
We heard you took a break after Bharat Chandra?
Yes. I call it gestation period (smiles). It was for personal reasons. There were some problems brewing in the Malayalam industry. I don’t want to disclose anything. I would want to be the person to conceal all the truths. If I start talking I will be a lair because although you may feel it is the truth I would not disclose the truth. It will be damaging, now every thing is sailing smooth. So let’s hope for the best, pray for the best and let only the best things happen in life.
Why this sequel after ten years?
Two reasons. One was that Mr. Ranjipaneker, the director, thought that for my comeback film or my third staging, the actor needs no introduction but the performer does. So he chose this hook up with Bharat Chandran, my most commercially successful and accepted role through out south India. Bharat Chandran is a socially responsible person in the attire of a cop and his character has matured in these eleven years. The situations in politics and society have also matured. So Ranji (director) wanted to draw a line that would connect the maturity of Bharat Chandran in eleven years and the situations in the country now be it politically or socially. And it is easier on the director because to establish a character it easily takes twenty to thirty minutes of the film and Bharat Chandran needs no introduction. That is why the film runs for only two hours. Now it is my understanding that because of these two reasons Ranji has done it this way.
Is it his debut film? He was the writer for commissioner?
Yes this is his debut film as a director. He was the writer for commissioner. He has done two films initially before he worked with me. We got along really well while doing Talasthanam in 1992 I think. We had problems with the production, the distribution; the film got released very late, by almost six months. We were stuck with the production. Usually in Malayalam you release the film sixty days after the shooting begins, but Thalasthanam was a runaway hit. Then both Shahji and Ranji did a film with Jagadish in which I played a guest role. Again that character became very prominent, as the son of the nation, an army personal who sacrifices his life for religious equality. Then we three did a movie together, the biggest, Ekalavyan. Then Mafia and then Police Commissioner. After Commisioner the two of them went to Mammooty with king in which I was forced to again do a guest role. After that Shahji and Ranji separated, and then Ranji and I worked for Patram. Later again Shahji and Ranji did Dubai with Mammooty and Praja with Mohanlal and now Ranji and I are back with Bharat Chandran. I think it has been a very prosperous and good growing graph.
Did you expect this kind of success? They are rumors that that there may be more movies like Bharat Chandran 1, 2, 3 series?
Let’s wish that it would be so. See, there are certain movies, you wished, would never finish shooting for. Because the ambience is such that you get so close with the cast and crew that you wish the shooting would go on for months so that you would be together. You get so emotionally attached. Bharat Chandran is one such kind of movie. I am stuck with him; I would like to live like him. Not that I like shouting or noise, I am a very peace loving person (smiling). But it is the concern that he has for society, for the people and for the development of the nation and its people. Every one who loves him will love their nation and its people. So I would love to become like him, though it is impossible, because he is too big, too great.
It is a top grosser?
Yes it is the top grosser of this year. Though Rajamanikyam is also drawing huge collections, but if you compare the budget of the two films, yes Bharat Chandran is the top grosser.
This time Bharat Chandran battles whom?
You can call him a don, an under world don who is tiring to creep into the culture of the country. Cultural terrorism which is fast pacing now. It’s a don who wants to conquer the state using a religious platform.
Your introduction shot is very impressive?
Yes (he describes the entry scene) I am very emotionally attached to the character if not for that character I am sure that I would not be sitting here in front of you. In my entry shot I salute back to the police officers, in fact it was shot such that I salute the audiences as Bharat Chandran who is returning after eleven years and as Suresh Gopi who is returning after almost four years.
Publicity played a key role in the success of the movie. Who was the publicity designer?
Rehman. But every millimeter of it went through Ranji. He even decided the caption for the first hoarding. The key caption” remember these days” was his idea. Mimicry artists have a lot of money using this caption in the past eleven years. You have to just say that and people are clapping all over. Even at meetings, when politicians used to ask me to say that dialogue, people would start applauding; those words became a pulse in Kerala. That is why Ranji wanted to use it as the caption for the first hoarding. It also became a very emotional line. People were calling and telling me that they had tears in their eyes when they saw that and it was as if I was asking them that, because I have not been around for four years. it is all gods blessings. Eleven years back when I delivered that dialogue I never thought that it would bring me and my family back. It has given me a new life.
You did one Telugu movie. Anthima Theerpu?
Yes with Krishnam Raju sir. It was a remake of a Mammooty film, New Delhi, which was a huge hit at that time.
Do you remember any Telugu dialogues from that movie?
Yes in fact that is the only Telugu bit I know ( laughing) and other small things like “ Bonchesara” (have you eaten) and also naughty things like “ Nenu ninnu premisthunnanu” ( I love you) and ( smiling) “ Nenu ninnu pelli cheskuntannu” ( I will marry you). You know such kind of things you tend to learn faster. That dialogue was very long and the difficult part was that I had to say it first in Telugu than again in Kannada. So it was confusing as the language was new to me. (He then recited the dialogue from the movie continuously for more than half a minute).
Very impressive sir. How do you remember such a long dialogue even after such a long time?
I don’t know. It is all god’s blessings. I believe in god a lot. I used to attend masses in school, I studied in an Anglo Indian school, at the same time I attend a Muslim congregation recently. You don’t have to drift from your religion. It’s like loving your parents. Only when you love one self, you can love others. You have to believe and love your religion to love others.
Are you open to Telugu movies?
Yes I would like to do more Telugu movies. The only problem is language. I would like the force of the dialogue to reach the audiences through my voice. So if I am going to do a Telugu movie I will learn the language and dub my own dialogues.
Is there going to be another Bharat Chandran movie?
Yes as I already told you there might be another of his movie. I don’t know whether you have seen the movie, in the last scene I tell my daughter to become an advocate like her mother, and she smiles. When I was being narrated this scene, I got an idea and told Ranji that my daughter should tell that she will want to become an IPS officer like her father. See because at my age and with the energy I have I can do at least two more Bharat Chandran movies in a gap of five years. By that time my daughter can become an IPS officer and while she is playing the main lead I can play the role of a retired officer. It was all manipulation (laughing) I nobly manipulated Ranji into that thought. It was a dream, a desire. I never dreamt that this movie would become such a big hit.