Aug 26, 2008

Mohanlal (Interview) I’m learning Japanese, Chinese for a new film

M alayalam movie superstar Mohanlal is learning Japanese and Chinese for his upcoming Japanese movie about an Indian freedom fighter.”I have to dub the film and speak in Japanese and Chinese. I have to learn the languages,” Mohanlal told IANS in an interview here. “It is a Japanese film.”

Mohanlal was here along with fellow actor Mukesh to announce the staging of the hit Malayalam play “Chayamukhy” in the Gulf later this year.

Speaking about the Japanese project “Nair San”, he said that the movie revolved around the true story of an Indian freedom fighter popularly known as Nair San in Japan.

“Maybe he (Nair San) was the first person in the world to conduct a student agitation against the British. This is a thrilling biography of him,” Mohanlal said.

“It is a docudrama. He fought against the British from Japan. Later, the Japanese government presented him with the title ‘San’,” he added.

Ayyapan Pillai Madhavan Nair - or Nair San - had to leave Kerala at the age of 18 as he campaigned among the students and led protests and marches against the social injustices of the British, according to the film’s website.

He rebelled against the education tax imposed by the British. He later settled in Japan, where he struggled hard to root out imperialism from Asian countries.

“His efficiency in Japanese, Chinese and Spanish languages lifted him above all other Indian freedom fighters in Japan such as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Rashbehari Bose, Pratap Singh and Barkathullah,” the website posting states.

Mohanlal said he personally knew Nair San, who had later opened a restaurant chain by the same name in Japan.

“I know that person. I have met him and I have been to his restaurants in Japan also, long back - I am talking about 23 years back,” the two-time National Award winner said.

He also confirmed that martial arts hero Jackie Chan will be doing a cameo in the film, which will be directed by noted Malayali director Albert.

“He is doing a small role. There is an action sequence he is doing,” he said.

Shooting for the new project, the first Japanese film by an Indian director, starts Sep 3 and locations will be spread across Japan, China and Mongolia.

“It is 160 days of shooting for me. The film will cover the life of Nair San from his age of 35 till his death,” Mohanlal said.

As for his other upcoming projects, he sounded very excited about the Oct 2 release of “Kurukshetra”, based on the Kargil war.

“It is about the Kargil war, how it happened and how it ended… We shot in real locations like Kargil and Drass,” the Padmashri recipient said.

He, however, clarified that the film was not a sequel to the earlier fast paced action thriller “Kirti Chakra” that he had done.

“Only one character, Major Mahadevan in ‘Kirti Chakra’, appears as Colonel Mahadevan here (in Kurukshetra),” he said.

The veteran actor is also looking forward to his multiplex business, which he said would cater basically to small towns in Kerala.

“It will not be in major cities like Kochi or Thiruvananthapuram. We will stay about 40 to 50 km away from such cities. Whatever amenities multiplexes provide will be available but at a lower scale,” he said.

Apart from Mohanalal, others involved in the project are Antony Perumbavoor, industrialist K.C. Babu and Asianet chief K. Madhavan. They have set up a company, Maxlab Entertainments, for this.

According to reports, the first of the multiplexes will be coming up near Chalakudy in Thrissur.

Mohanlal said now people don’t have to come to major cities to watch the latest movies.

“Previously there was a ban (on releasing films all across Kerala). But now we can release films throughout Kerala. People in smaller towns did not have enough theatres. We are aiming at these pockets,” he said.

So, now with Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi announcing his foray into politics, when can one expect Mohanlal to do the same?

“No, no, Kerala state is not like that,” he said shaking his head even before the question could be completed.

“In Kerala, film actors are not needed in politics,” he smiled.

Asserting that he was in no way connected to politics, he said: “I don’t want to get into politics. I know about the state, I know what is happening in the country. But I am not very keen on party and all. I have friends in all parties.”