Lalu Alex: I'm eager to work with new-age filmmakers
The veteran who returned to the limelight with the recently-released Bro Daddy, speaks about his plans for the future and more
Almost every family has that genial, beloved uncle, the type of character actor Lalu Alex seems to often embody. Over a telephone conversation, this actor, so full of self-awareness and candidness, spoke of being slotted into 'supportive dad' roles, his limitations as an actor, and about being part of Bro Daddy that is streaming on Disney + Hotstar. In a film that features Mohanlal, Prithviraj, and Meena, it may not be an exaggeration to call him the standout performer.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
You have been quite selective with your script choices recently. What made you choose Bro Daddy?
I loved the character of a conservative father even during the first narration. Besides the prospect of acting alongside Mohanlal and Prithviraj, I was also excited about working under Prithviraj's direction and Mohanlal's production. It's a big film; I didn't want to miss out.
Prithviraj, being an actor himself, was seen enacting other characters’ scenes in the making videos.
He did that a lot, yes. As Raju (Prithviraj) is an actor too, this was a great advantage. Before each scene, he would perform and give us a rough idea of what he expected. It definitely helped.
For instance, even about that dance step I do in this film, he gave me clear instructions and how it will be staged. He narrated that I would be walking up the stairs happily singing a song. I gave it my own touch by adding a couple of pauses and making it look like a dance step. Raju thoroughly enjoyed it and the whole unit was in splits when he called 'cut'.
Being a veteran in the industry, what do you look for in a character, these days?
I'm looking for roles that offer me the scope for performance. I'm also eager to work with new-age filmmakers who are showing immense potential.
However, I don’t like to ask for chances. It is not due to arrogance or anything. During my early days, I got used to waiting at the doorsteps of filmmakers. Today, at this stage of my career, it would be unwise for me to seek roles. I don't know the filmmakers of this generation, personally. Sometimes, yes, I put in a word with those I'm close to. I think it’s best when filmmakers feel I'm suitable for a particular role and then, approach me.
There was a phase when you were not doing too many films. Was it a deliberate plan to slow down?
Yes and no. My life, like every other person’s, is full of ups and downs. If you think about it, even nature is like that. The weather in the afternoon is not the same as it's in the evening. So, I prefer to go with the flow and let things happen as they are destined to.
However, even during the lull, I watched films regularly and observed the changing trends. There were times when I loved a film so much that I would get the number of the filmmaker and have a long chat with them. In hindsight, I guess I could say I also felt a bit insecure during that period.
Do you look at certain roles and wish you had been approached for them?
Kattappa from Baahubali (laughs). Yes, there have been roles in the recent past that I feel were tailor-made for me, but I had to miss out on them for various reasons that I cannot really delve into. But that's okay. It’s part and parcel of being an actor.
In fact, the opposite has also happened. I have taken up some roles just because I needed the money and many of those decisions have gone wrong. However, I don’t see the point of worrying.
Over the years, Malayalam cinema has undergone a lot of changes in filmmaking style, themes explored, acting style... How do you manage to stay relevant?
I'm extremely confident in my ability as an actor. If the director believes in me and the crew communicates everything properly, I'm confident that I can pull off any role easily.
How do you see your career shaping at this stage?
I have no plans really. How the rest of my career gets moulded will be decided by the people with whom I will be associating. As an actor, I'm open to all roles. I promise to give them my best.