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Tovino Thomas On His Mediahound Performance In Naaradan

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Tovino Thomas

As an  unscrupulous television journalist  in  Aashiq Abu’s  Naaradan  Tovino Thomas  gives yet another sterling performance  that is  high on  credibility and low on self-congratulation. In an exclusive  interview with Subhash  K Jha Tovino  talks of playing grey  and its  dynamics.

Naaradan sees you move diametrically away from Murali Minnale.How tough  was the transition?

The transition  was  most definitely tough. But that is  the  whole  point  of  being an actor. I don’t want  to repeat  myself.I  don’t want  to  restrict my acting to good-guy roles. I want  to play bad guys also. I am very clear on  my priorities: I  want  to be  known  as a good actor, and not just a star. If  after  recognition as an actor   the stardom comes, then I am okay with  it.

How did you prepare  for  the part of  the television  journalist ?
As  an  actor I  try to push my limits with each role. For Naaradan   I took training from an acting coach for the  diction and for defining the character. The transition took time. I had to gradually make my way into  the heart and  mind  of   the journalist Chandraprakash . I got  a lot of inputs  from the screenplay writer Unni R , like how Chandraprakash  is lefthanded,  how he hides his grey side but it pops up unannounced. I think the  character  wouldn’t have shaped up well if I  we didn’t create a background for him.

How closely did you study news anchors and journalistic ethics before playing  Chandraprakash?

I didn’t want  to imitate anybody  blindly. Instead  we designed  a completely fictional character.Naaradan is  not a bio-pic and we didn’t want to  imitate  anyone. But yes, I will admit we  took  inspiration  from many news  anchors. We kept watching national and international videos of  well-known news anchors. I took inspiration from many of them, but no one in  particular.

In Naaradan you play an absolutely unscrupulous mediahound. How difficult is it for you to play morally ambiguous characters like Shahji in  Kala , Alan  in Kaaanekkane  and Chandraprakash in Naaradan?

That’s what makes it  a challenge.Playing the the good guy  can get boring for  me  as an actor and  for  the  audience too. I want to push my limits by exploring all  kinds of characters. I am game  to  play hero, villain, supporting actor, guest actor: you name  it. I am an actor who tries his best. And I am learning from every character. I am  actually not interested in establishing a  fan base. I would rather try new things  than play to the gallery. Good guy, bad guy …I am  happy with both.

Also Read:  Vijay Sethupathi, Fahadh Faasil Won’t Promote  Kamal Haasan Film

In Naaradan your character screams down panelists ,uses underhand tactics, fudges TRPs and thinks he is above the law.Reminds me one particular newsperson?

I really don’t want  to  answer  this question. We haven’t targeted   anyone in particular.I am also a writer. Unni R  who wrote Naaradam  is a media person  . He is also a  known  writer in  Kerala. My character Chandraprakash is  Unn R’s fictional  creation. I was  just happy to interpret the character  as I saw it best.

Have you been a victim of fakenews? Do you think the media needs to  exercize some restrain?

Yes, there have  been incidents. But whether  it is fake  or real news it doesn’t last  for more than two days nowadays.That’s  it. But yes, we all know  the media  is  pillar of  our democracy. Definitely , they have a  responsibility towards  the  people to bring forward  the real news. They cannot pass off fiction as fact. In movies we have  that liberty. But the  news  must be  fully authentic . A majority of  people  from any part of the world, including me,  believe the  news to be true. That’s how our minds have been trained in a  democracy. Things have changed. Now there is tendency to run behind exclusivity and TRPs at the  cost of credibility.Again I am  not pointing a finger at any channel  in particular. They should fact-check every  news. Half-truths  and fake news  are just not acceptable. Nowadays  if I  watch  five channels I get  five different versions of the same news. I am then supposed to sift through the  five reports to separate fact from fiction.

Were you happy with the the way Naaradan was received in movie theatres? It came with  a mammoth project like Bheeshma Parvam.Was that a problem?

As an actor I am not bothered with  the  boxoffice figures. I am concerned about the  number of people  who watch my films. If  not in theatres, it will be  watched on  OTT.How much money a film makes is a producer’s lookout.

Tell about your next?

My next release is Vaashi where I am  paired with  the National award winning actress Keerthi Suresh.It’a  courtroom  drama.The one  after that Thallumala with Kalyani Priyadarshi   which is  an out and out colourful entertainer

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