He is neither Mamootty nor Mohanlal but Jagadish, who, with his comic timing and wit, has made his way into the hearts of Malayali film buffs through the over 300 films hes acted in. The comedian, who started off as a commerce lecturer, is now turning director and doesnt hide his ambitions of a political career.
Though the seasoned actor is eyeing politics, when he will make an entry is still a closely guarded secret.
"My entry into politics will take place at an appropriate time and once I am there, it would be a full-time job," Jagadish told IANS in an interview.
"Look, I began my career as a commerce college lecturer in the early 1980s. Soon I joined the film industry and initially, I doubled as a college teacher and an actor for three years. When I found that I wasnt doing justice to my role as a teacher, I decided to call it a day and turned full-time actor," the actor said at the shooting location of his latest film "Uppukandam Brothers-Back in Action" on the outskirts of the capital city.
And asked about his party affiliations, he did not give a direct reply but said that during his college days he had been a very active member of the Kerala Students Union (KSU), the student wing of the Congress party in Kerala.
"I have contested numerous elections in my college days and it was always under the banner of KSU," he said.
Jagadish, who entered Malayalam films with a minor role in 1984 film "My Dear Kuttichathan", has acted in more than 300 movies over the last 26 years. While he has played the lead role in 40 films, he has scripted a dozen films too including "Mazha Peyyunnu Maddalam Kottunnu" and "Minda Poochakku Kalyanam".
Talking more politics, the veteran actor said he would like to be a politician like the lead character he played in "Sthalathe Pradhana Payyans".
"Of course, I assure people that if I ever become a politician, I would be like to be like the character I played in that film," he said.
Jagadish is well versed with the key issues in Kerala politics and is quick to point the flaws of the ruling Left government headed by Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI- M) veteran V.S. Achuthanandan.
"Even though I am an actor, I always find time to mingle with people...The overall impression I could gather from the man on the street is that the governments performance has fallen much short of expectations," said Jagadish.
"Just look at the development of Tamil Nadu and look at Kerala. The fate of the proposed Smart City Kochi is still hanging fire. Also see what is happening in Communist China. The CPI-M here appears to be caught in contradictions," he added.
Jagadish has been able to hang on to his place among the top comedians in the industry despite stiff competition from his contemporaries and newcomers.
After his debut, Jagadish established himself with his roles in "Mutharamkunnu P.O." (1985), "Nandi Veendum Varika" (1986), and "Vandanam" (1989). But what got him acclaim were his stellar performances in "Mukhachitram", "In Harihar Nagar", "Godfather" and Hitler.
Jagadish has now donned the directors hat for a film called "Amar Akbar Antony" with Mammootty playing the lead role. But he admits that the project will be delayed.
"Since we felt that the budget was a bit expensive, for the moment it is going to be delayed. In the meanwhile, a moderate budget film is being worked out," he said.
Any plans of turning producer too?
"Me turning a producer is ruled out because I am a commerce post-graduate and am not very keen to see holes developing in my pocket. Moreover, I am busy with a dozen new films as an actor," he replied.
On the vexed issue of thespian actor Thilakan being thrown out of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) on disciplinary grounds, Jagadish said: "He is no doubt a great actor and we want him back at the earliest..."
(Sanu George can be contacted at email@example.com)