There is no stopping this star as he zooms through 2019 with multiple releases!
Virus, Kalki, Luca, Oscar goes to, Kilometers and Kilometers….and there is more lined up. There is no stopping this superstar, who has now become Mollywood’s most celebrated hero! With no Godfathers or mentors in the industry, he fought his battles with sheer passion, determination and hardwork. Even when people were ready to write him off, he persevered, without giving up. Today, he is one of the most bankable and gifted actors in the Malayalam film industry. With Maari 2, he made his presence felt in Kollywood too. Ritz is in conversation with the fun loving, down to earth and super talented star, Tovino Thomas!
Interview: Riya Sonny Datson
Photography: Luca Team
Luca has a very young crew behind the film with two new producers, Prince Hussain and Linto Thomas. How was the experience working with such a young team?
I have known Prince and Linto for a very long time. We met on the sets of Oru Mexican Aparatha and became good friends from then on. All of us have a liking for art and have our own artistic inclinations, which is why there was an instant sync when we decided to do Luca. The film is based on the life of a scrap artist and the entire movie has lot of artistic elements to it, which required a lot of funding. As a part of the art work, there were a lot of installations by various artists. The team even built the world’s largest dreamcatcher that measured upto 37 feet. It was acknowledged by the Guinness Book of World Records too. The producers were very positive and supportive about the entire project which made it a great experience.
Tell us about ‘Luca’. Any preparations for the role?
Luca is a romantic thriller that revolves around two separate timelines – while one is a beautiful love story, the other has the thriller element. But it is an effective blend of both the tracks, which makes it an interesting entertainer. As far as my role is concerned, I am a painter and a scrap artist in the movie. We had decided that I will be sporting a beard to suit the character. I worked closely with the art department to perfect my performance as there were many sequences where I had to paint, do charcoal art or other forms of art.
‘Virus’, your recent release has been well received and you have teamed up with Ashiq Abu after a while. Tell us about your experience.
Yes, most of the members of the ‘Virus’ crew are either very good friends of mine or are people who I have known for a very long time, so it was very comfortable working with the team. People always tell me that ‘Mayaanadhi’ is one of my best performances and the film was made by Aashiq Abu. I really like working with him for I feel he brings out the best in every actor. I look forward to doing more movies with him.
‘Lucifer’ has broken all records in Malayalam Cinema, how did it feel to be a part of such a big star cast?
I was doubtful about the role initially and expressed my apprehensions but they had full faith in me. So I surrendered to them completely trusting the fact that when you work with such an experienced team, it would automatically reflect in your work too. Am happy to have been a part of such a great movie. The amazing thing about Lucifer was the clarity with which the film was made. Before the shoot, they gave me a brief outline about the movie and about each of the characters and the end result was precisely what they had planned.
You were a part of Mari 2. How was it to step out of the Malayalam industry?
It was a different experience and I enjoyed working for Maari 2 but am much more happy and comfortable working in the Malayalam industry.
After so many back to back hits and so much critical acclaim, how has life changed for you?
Life continues to be the same. I still want to be a part of good movies. I want to continue in the industry for a long time. I am hoping to maintain the good relations that I have now and hope to ensure that my producers don’t make too many losses when they put their trust in me.
Are you conscious about your choice of films now?
Things haven’t changed much. At the end of the day, Cinema is an art so while choosing a film, there has to be an artistic value. At the same time, it must have an entertainment value for the audience. The producers should not incur a loss for investing in a film either. So there has to be a balance of all these aspects.
‘Oru Kuprassidha Payyan’ was an intense film that would have been an ideal contender for an award. Were you expecting it?
I would have been happy if I had received an award for the film but if the audience appreciate my performance, I value that more. I do my best for every role I portray but it is never with any kind of expectation. Yes, it is always a joy to win an award but if we work solely with that intention, you would lose your focus. If my performance is worth an award, I would be happy to receive it but it is not my highest priority.
What are the triggers that help you to have a smooth transition into the characters you portray?
After the initial script reading and discussions with directors and script writers, I usually make notes on my phone about a character – his looks, mannerisms, the way he talks or walks. I use these notes during the first few days of shoot and it does help me to an extent. Another trigger is scent. I associate scents to a specific memory. For each film, I use a small bottle of a specific perfume and use it until the movie is over. I feel it helps me to identify with the character. It is just like how the smell of a fresh book or the scent of the first rain reminds you of your first day of school. I easily relate to smells and so I associate each character with a scent. But I need the trigger only during the initial days of shoot, once you get a hang of it, then it comes naturally.
When not doing movies…
When I am shooting, I travel with my family most of the time now. That way, I get to spend time with them. If I am not shooting, I prefer to go home to my family.
What about your fitness regimes and diet?
I am trying to make time for regular exercise as I feel it is a necessity. There are times when it gets difficult amidst shoot schedules but I am trying my best to make it a part of my lifestyle. I don’t adopt any extreme diets but generally try to eat clean with occasional indulgences.
Social media trolling has become a norm today, how do you handle it?
I don’t have too much time for social media and so I don’t give it undue importance. I feel there are positive aspects to it too so I accept the positives and ignore the negatives.
Your take on #Metoo movements in Mollywood.
Over a period of time, in every system, there has to be a change and there will always be a change. Sometimes, it is initiated by someone and at other times, it happens eventually. If the outcome is positive, change is always welcome, as long as it is not misused.
There are a lot of projects that are in various stages of production – Kalki is in its post-production stage, there is Luca which will be releasing by end of June, other projects include Oscar Goes To, Kilomenters and Kilometers, Edakadu Battalion 06, Aaravam, Forensic and Minnal Murali.
- I can’t do without: Sleep
- Cinema is: Passion, Profession, Part of my life
- Proud Possession: My family and friends
- Tovino is: Fun loving, Determined, Laid Back
- In My Wallet Always: Money and Driving License
- Favourite Holiday Destination: Home
- Production or Direction?: Not anytime now
- Dream Role: My dream is to do different types of roles