‘I want to do more Malayalam films’, says actor Harish Uthaman

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Having made an impact in Tamil and Telugu films, the actor wants to do more films in Malayalam

Having made an impact in Tamil and Telugu films, the actor wants to do more films in Malayalam

Over the past 12 years as an actor, Harish Uthaman has acted only in a handful of Malayalam films, the last one being Bheeshma Parvam. As Ini Utharam, his next, gets ready for release, he says, “I want to act in Malayalam films!” hoping he does not have to play a cop in them. With good reason too. In Bheeshma Parvam he essays a cop, Martin, and in Ini Utharam too.

He was not keen on taking on Ini Utharam when he heard it would be another cop role. However, when he listened to the narration by director Sudheesh Ramachandran and scenarist Ranjith Unni, he changed his mind. “I really liked the story. I knew this was one role I could not miss. It is a solid character that does not come one’s way often. Usually what is narrated is very different from what translates on screen, but in this case, what was told to me is what is in the film.”  

Harish is a familiar face in the Tamil and Telugu film industry, having made his debut in the 2010 Tamil film Thaa. The actor, whose parents hail from Thalassery, Kerala, was born and brought up in Coimbatore hence the Tamil Nadu connect. He quit his lucrative job as cabin crew with an international airline to become an actor encouraged by his family. 

“I was reluctant to quit my job and take the risk. But my siblings encouraged me and told me to give it a shot,” says Harish, who confesses to not having watched all the popular ‘classics’ of Malayalam cinema. Thaa was followed by three years of no work, he calls it a ‘period of learning’ for him as a person and actor. If once upon a time he called himself an ‘accidental actor’, he now believes it was destiny that brought him to films. 

The payoff at the end of it was Gouravam (2013), the Tamil-Telugu bi-lingual produced by actor Prakash Raj and directed by Radha Mohan. The next film, Pandiya Naadu, was the game-changer,  there has been no looking back since then. The Prithviraj-starrer Mumbai Police came out that year. 

Language no barrier

Harish dubs for his films in Tamil, Telugu and, of course, Malayalam. Since he was born and raised in Tamil Nadu, the language was not a problem. He learnt Telugu and is now proficient in it, he says. Only two Telugu films of his were dubbed by others. “I cannot act if I cannot understand the language,” he says, a reason why he has not taken on projects in Kannada as he is not fluent in it. He is now learning Kannada.

By 2018, he was busy working back-to-back films, and he realised he was getting typecast. Most of the roles coming his way were either negative or cop, he then decided to slow down. He did fewer films, happily, from 2019 on. He appeared in a couple of Tamil OTT series — Topless (ZEE5) and Suzhal – The Vortex (Amazon Prime) — he is due to appear in another next year.  Among his Tamil releases this year are Vikram, Captain, and Cadaver.

His other Malayalam films are Kalki, Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel, and Mayanadhi. “It is for purely practical reasons that I have not done more Malayalam films. Each time I got an offer, there would be a clash of dates with my projects in Tamil or Telugu,” Harish says. Bheeshma Parvam was one of them, his take as Martin was noticed. He had committed to Bilal before the pandemic but it got shelved. Bheeshma Parvam happened instead for which director Amal Neerad wanted him for Martin’s role. 

There have been good films and ‘solid roles’ he has had to forgo due to date conflicts but he has no regrets, “The roles I was destined to do, have come my way. I hope I am able to do more [Malayalam] films!”

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