Having played a negative character in Thuppakki, Gautam Kurup takes stock of new-age villains in Tamil and Malayalam cinema
The tamil film industry has found a new villain in Gautam Kurup. The self-dubbed ‘devil from God’s own country’, has over 20 years of experience in production. And when the Delhi-based Chennai-born Malayali decided to face the camera, he made a mark alongside actors like Mohanlal and Amitabh Bachchan, and got recognition in films like Thuppakki, Kandahar (Malayalam) and Salaam Kashmir (Malayalam). Next up, Kurup will be seen playing the negative role in Puthiya Thiruppangal (Tamil) and Picket 43 (Malayalam). More from the actor:
I always knew I wanted to be an actor. As a teenager I used to make the rounds of producers’ and directors’ offices in Mumbai, but I was always shown the door. So I decided to bide my time working behind the camera, hoping that one day I’ll make it on screen.
There is no hero without a villain. You can never tell a tale without a bad guy. Just as the film industry has grown leaps and bounds, so have our villians. While shooting, I follow my instincts to bring out my negative side. I also act in front of the mirror, which makes my family wonder if I am going nuts.
I always wanted to be the hero who runs around trees and sings songs. I still get to do it—but as the bad guy. However, I am lucky to have worked with superstars in the Tamil and Malayalam film industries, like Vijay and Mohanlal. I remember this long scene with Vijay in Thuppakki, where he chops off my fingers. He was very supportive and got the best out of me. These are experiences I’ll cherish for a lifetime.
I’d like to work in other genres. But then again, I have always preferred the Joker to Batman and Venom to Spider Man. And, considering my age (early 40s), I’ll also have to look at doing other roles.
I have a long list of people I want to work with. From established directors like Anurag Kashyap and Subhash Ghai to newcomers like Ayan Mukerji and Dibakar Banerjee.
For inspiration I look to Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford.
I play a negative role in Lakshmi Ramakrishnan’s upcoming Tamil movie, where you will see a new side to me. Then there is Major Ravi’s film, Picket 43, with Prithviraj. I also have my Bollywood debut, which will be announced soon.
My favourite villains are Amjad Khan, Danny Denzongpa, Pran, Kader Khan, Ranjeet and Raghuvaran from the South, besides Prakash Raj.
— Mrinalini Sundar