Joju George may be a power-packed performer on screen, but he likes to keep it subtle when it comes to promoting movies and doesn’t divulge much. He does most of his talking in Tamil and as we start the interview session, he says, “I am learning Tamil and I have taken it up seriously. In a few more days I would be able to converse better.” The actor who has been the center of attention of the national audience in the last few years is making his debut in Tamil with Jagame Thandhiram. “I am playing the role of a gangster named Sivadoss. I have also dubbed my own lines. Had you liked my roles in Nayattu, One, and Joseph among others, I am sure you would place Jagame Thandhiram’s Sivadoss right on top. Making my debut with Karthik Subbaraj’s directorial alongside Dhanush has got me excited. I can’t wait for the film’s premiere on Netflix on June 18,” he begins.
Joju says it was Karthik Subbaraj, who was instrumental in shaping up his character in a meticulous way. “When I heard what Sivadoss would be in the film, I was ready to carry it in the front of the camera. However, it was Karthik who helped me in bringing out the right emotions. Though Malayalam and Tamil are similar in terms of culture, the emotions when we speak are different. It was the director who helped me in getting the dialogues right. In fact, he took a huge risk by casting me,” he laughs. Having said that Joju says that he had to learn the language for the starters. “Though I know Tamil and can talk, I should say that I am still trying to improve. I need to be more proficient and there will be a day when I will talk Tamil like a native speaker. Karthik and his assistant Srini helped me when I was learning the language,” he opens up.
If one has to learn cinema, Jagame Thandhiram sets in London could have been the place. With National award-winners like Dhanush and Joju, the actor says that more than the awards it is the commitment towards the project that pushed him to perform. “At the end of the day, I need to justify the remuneration I received from the producer. With a co-star like Dhanush, who constantly kept me comfortable on the sets, it felt like home for me,” he adds.
Be it Joseph, a retired policeman or Baby, a party leader in One or ASI Maniyan in Nayattu, all these characters played by Joju though were protagonists, had a negative shade to them. So will Sivadoss. “I don’t ask for such characters. I listen to a lot of scripts and pick and choose such roles. When the content is appealing I agree to do the story,” says the actor.
Joju is often compared with Vijay Sethupathi and their career paths have been strikingly similar. Reacting to the comparison, Joju says, “That makes me really happy. I am his biggest fan. People here say that I and my choice of films are like Vijay Sethupathi. Nothing could make me happier. However, I don’t know if Vijay Sethupathi is happy with these comparisons,” he laughs. On a concluding note, the actor says that he would be seen in more Tamil films in the future. “I would love to be a part of Tamil films. I hope to get good scripts and directors,” he remarks.