Vijay Superum Pournamiyum: When opposites come together


Vijay Superum Pournamiyum: When opposites come together
Vijay Superum Pournamiyum stars Asif Ali and Aishwarya Lekshmi in the lead.

dubai - Asif Ali and Aishwarya Lekshmi talk to City Times about their contrasting characters in the Malayalam film


Deepthi Nair

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Published: Sun 27 Jan 2019, 7:25 PM

Last updated: Thu 31 Jan 2019, 2:57 PM

It is rare that you see a Malayalam remake of a film from another language. Mostly, filmmakers from other industries watch out for riveting content from Malayalam and remake it into other languages. Therefore, Vijay Superum Pournamiyum is unique in that it has been inspired from a blockbuster Telugu movie, Pelli Choopulu. The movie, starring Asif Ali and Aishwarya Lekshmi in the lead, is currently playing in the UAE and the wider GCC.

However, director Jis Joy insists his third directorial outing (VSP) has been adapted for the Malayali audience and is not a blind remake.

"We need to understand the essence of a movie and conceive it into a new product. After watching Pelli Choopulu, we made changes to make it relevant for our native audience. I took more time making this movie than my previous film, Sunday Holiday, since the original Telugu movie was a big hit. I wanted VSP to be superior to the original," Jis told City Times.

The feel-good movie sees Asif playing an under-performer and Aishwarya an over-achiever. The cast also includes Siddique, Renji Panicker, KPAC Lalitha, Shanthi Krishna, Balu Varghese and newbie Joseph Annamkutty Jose.

Asif is back
Discussing why making a remake is a big risk, Asif said the Telugu actors had done a great job and comparisons were bound to happen. "The Malayali audience watches movies in all languages. The producer A.K. Sunil deserves credit since he had initially bought only the dubbing rights of the Telugu movie. However, after working on the dubbed version, he decided to remake it owing to the good content."

On being the go-to guy in the Malayalam film industry for playing slacker roles, the actor said he has no qualms playing such characters. "I have played characters with varying degrees of slackness. My character depends on the subject of the movie. For instance, the slacker in Sunday Holiday is different from the guy in VSP," Asif explained.

However, Asif, who made his acting debut in the 2009 movie Ritu, has experimented with multiple genres in his career spanning 60 films. Some of his notable movies include Salt N' Pepper, Red Wine, Honey Bee, Bicycle Thieves, Apothecary, Sapthamashree Thaskaraha, Nirnayakam and Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, among others.

"I have tried to satisfy the actor in me by experimenting with different movie makers. For instance, Kili Poyi was the first stoner movie in India. However, it was given the label of a 'new generation' movie. This tag made the family audience hesitate to watch the movie initially. However, all that's changed with VSP where families are praising the movie," Asif added.

Admitting that he has had a roller coaster ride of a career, Asif, who is an industry outsider, said he is more careful while signing films today and wants to work with quality filmmakers. "Since I came to movies with a lot of dreams, I was a little too excited. I have committed to films after listening to a few lines and the movies didn't live up to my expectations. After doing a lot of bad movies and then a good film, the former started affecting the latter. As long as the audience is still welcoming, there should be an attempt to keep improving oneself," the actor observed.

The Midas touch
Meanwhile, Aishwarya is currently the girl with the Midas touch in the Malayalam film industry. With all her four films (Njandukalude Naatil Oridavela, Mayaanadhi, Varathan and VSP) doing well commercially, she is riding a high.

"My success is only the result of the work of brilliant scriptwriters, directors and actors. I am lucky to have been a part of such films. Good scripts have come my way," she told City Times. On how she has played bold, confident, urban characters in all her films, the talented actress said the industry has been lacking such roles. "I am just a beginner, so I can always do different variants of characters. I didn't want to let go of these characters since the scripts were so good. I am looking forward to doing different kinds of scripts now," Aishwarya added.

Talking about the protagonists in the movie, she said Vijay Super and Pournami are representatives of a section of youth today.

"Pournami is very ambitious, confident and a go-getter. She has grown up in an environment that is very conducive for her growth. But some things haven't gone as planned. She wants a partner who will help her and who she will help back in the process. Vijay has no clarity on what he should do next. When someone nudges him in the right direction, the two blossom into a relationship that explores their potential," the heroine elaborated.

Director's cut
The maker and crew insist that VSP is not a love story. Rather, it explores a partnership between the two lead actors who share a common goal. The story deals with how they influence each other.

The makers and crew credit VSP's good run at the Indian box office to its appeal among all categories of the audience: youngsters, families, new generation, etc.

"People come to watch movies for two-and-a-half hours to be engaged. They should be able to forget their problems and be entertained. Make a good screenplay and step up direction a notch higher. When they emerge from the theatre, they should have a smile on their face. This film has managed to achieve all that," claimed director Jis.

On casting Asif in all his three films, the director, who hails from an advertising background, said: "If I were to do a film like Drishyam, I would think of casting someone else. Asif can only do roles that suit his age and mannerisms. For instance, Bicycle Thieves was a story that had a lot of twists. He could relate to the twists in the first hearing itself. If he hadn't agreed to do the role, I wouldn't have been a director now."

Jis was, however, quick to affirm that he is not comfortable doing certain genres, such as action movies. "Whenever I write a script, I always think of the goodness in people. So, there are no villains in my movies," Jis clarified.

Asif is currently busy shooting for Nadirshah's Mera Naam Shaaji. His upcoming releases include Kakshi Ammini Pilla, a family entertainer where he plays a lawyer, Uyare also starring Tovino Thomas and Parvathy, and Arun Kumar Aravind's action drama titled Underworld.

Meanwhile, Aishwarya's next movie, Argentina Fans Kaattoorkadavu, releases on March 1. She is paired with Kalidas Jayaram in the flick. She will also soon start a Tamil movie with Vishal. "I have never wanted language to be a barrier in my career. I am always open to doing other languages," the actress said.

On why he hasn't made a foray into other industries as yet, Asif said: "The Malayalam film industry sees more experiments than any other languages. Our audience is willing to accept as many genres as possible. So, I can prove myself further in our industry."

Off-screen/on-screen friendship
Balu Varghese, the nephew of Malayalam director and actor Lal, plays the protagonist Vijay's friend in Vijay Superum Pournamiyum. He is joined by newbie actor Joseph Annamkutty Jose and Seby George (who plays Asif's mentor in VSP).

"I play a music director called Roshan who gets 'inspired' from old songs. We are always seen with Vijay," Balu told City Times.
Asif and Balu have worked together since Honeybee and are good friends.

"Our on-screen chemistry is the result of our off-screen camaraderie. I am always dependent on someone in the movie, either on family, friends or Pournami," said Asif.

Balu said he wants to be known as a good actor and doesn't aspire to be in every frame of a movie.

"He elicits applause each time he comes on screen. What matters is not the length of your role, but to be able to influence the audience whenever you come on screen. And Balu succeeds in that every single time," said Aishwarya.

Balu is currently working on an art movie, titled Mohabbatein Kunjabdulla. He is also doing a movie with Kalidas Jayaram. 


Director Jis Joy with Seby George and Balu Varghese.
Director Jis Joy with Seby George and Balu Varghese.

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