Location Diaries: Role call - Vishnu Vishal for Mohandas
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week, it is from Mohandas
Vishnu Vishal had to undergo several changes in order to get into the skin of his character for his upcoming film, Mohandas. For starters, he had to wear glasses which took time getting used to. "I observed people who wore glasses to see how they carried it. I also decided to use it as a prop to convey different emotions, like pushing my glasses back forcefully to convey anger, or touching the frame to communicate thought," says the actor, who found the going particularly hard during the stunt sequences. "The sequence demanded that the lens be cracked and that meant I couldn't see clearly during the shoot. I had to be extra-careful while mock-punching others or even when I was running."
Vishnu Vishal has also experimented with dialogue delivery for this film. "My character has many layers—he is disturbed and has many fears bottled up within. However, he exudes a confident exterior. Director Murali Karthik and I discussed how to play this out and I decided to be subtle, put on a poker face, and slow down my dialogue delivery to camouflage the character’s fears," says the actor. "However, I realised that slowing the dialogues meant that the length of the film would get increased, and this could potentially lead to lags. So, I had to achieve a fine balance, and operate in the right meter."
He remembers being left speechless by one particular scene. "This was the first time in my career that an actor’s performance made me forget my lines. Indrajith Sukumaran sir’s performance was so engrossing that I forgot I had lines to speak. I reacted to the scene like Vishnu Vishal. We had to cut and redo the shot," says the actor, who is confident that a crucial interrogation scene featuring both actors will be appreciated. "Indrajith sir plays a cop and enunciates his words carefully, taking time with each line. As Mohandas also speaks slowly in the film, I had to adapt and improvise, adjusting my dialogue pace to increase the momentum. It made for exciting learning," says Vishnu Vishal. "Getting under the skin of a complex character like Mohandas gave me a deeper understanding of the art of acting. I think Mohandas would be a game-changer for me after my role in Ratchasan."