Years couldn’t dull the carefree bravura. Despite relocating to mature roles and donning the politician’s garb, Mukesh still remains that sprightly youngster at heart. There are no measured answers, just happy, unrehearsed banter. “We all have some basic traits. If you are a casual-and-easygoing person you can’t turn serious one fine day. Once director Fazil asked me to tone down my playful ways and be more businesslike. But the suggestion was instantly vetoed by Priyadarshan and Mohanlal; they said they love me for my wisecracks and pranks,” he says.
Jomonte Suviseshangal, his latest film with DQ, has wooed the families and the actor-turned-politician seems quite upbeat. He says trends and templates may keep changing, but ultimately the core of cinema stays the same. “Culture, nostalgia and genuine sentiments never go outdated and Jomon’s success proves this fact. Today, the heroes of most films are introduced as if they are born at the age age of 25 in some metro; there is no space for fathers and mothers in the scripts. But then, in the middle of all that, a film on father-son relationship is celebrated by cine-goers. It definitely indicates what’s timeless and what’s not.” He adds he was totally comfortable playing Vincent, Dulquar’s businessman dad in the film. “I was confident as there was a seasoned director calling the shots. When you are working with newcomers, even if they are immensely talented, you feel confused at times. But when Sathyan Antikad okays a shot you leave it at that.”
The hero of many cult comedies in Malayalam, he feels humour should be guileless and honest. “You can’t call innuendos and obscenities humour. I don’t believe in generating humour through vulgar, indecent lines and I always refuse to mouth them. I think it’s one reason why people still love comedy scenes from the 90s.”
Mukesh says he has reached a point in his career where he can be selective in the true sense of the word. But it’s not an MLA’s busy schedule that limits the number of his films. “Now I sign films only when I am convinced it’s a character meant for me.”
Busy finishing his portions for Dileep’s Ramaleela, Hey Jude starring Nivin Pauly and Trisha will be his next. “It’s a good story and then Shyamaprasad said he can’t imagine anyone else playing that role.”
He adds he has absolutely no plans to take any break from films and he will never stop being an artist. “While shooting I make sure that there are no issues in my constituency and I always stay ready to rush back in case of any emergency.” But his bysy political career has put something else on the back-burner, at least for the time being.
“Yes, I was about to make my directorial debut. But then I became a candidate and MLA, making my schedule tighter and tighter. I have been planning it for a while and very soon you will see me as a director,” he says.
In a recent award function, he was selected as the multi-faceted star for juggling films, theatre, television, books and politics. “In this category there was just one nomination - an MLA who acts, hosts TV shows and writes. I accepted the award with all my heart,” he laughs. And how does he find the energy for all this multitasking?
“When you enjoy whatever you are doing, it gives you the grit. Be it politics or films I revel in the challenges, for me it’s an exciting and inspiring ride,” he winds up.