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Last Updated Saturday September 23 2017 06:17 PM IST

I am always the same: all-rounder Santhosh Pandit

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I am always the same: all-rounder Santhosh Pandit People made the mistake of passing opinions and judgments without trying to understand things clearly, says Santhosh Pandit

Santhosh Pandit has always courted controversy since his entry into the Malayalam movie industry five years ago. The actor/director/producer/musician/singer has been a hot topic of discussion in many social platforms and is a favorite of online trollers. We might blame negative publicity for his immense popularity or criticize his bizarre antics on screen, but Pandit is not ready to allow these negative reviews affect his fiery spirit and enthusiasm. He stands up to his critics with his strong opinions and bold statements.

I am always the same...

I have been the same person all through my life and speak up like this form my childhood onwards. I took part in a reality show in Malayalam which is similar in format to ‘Big Boss’. People told me, “you performed well”. But I never ‘performed’ in that show. For the show a number of contestants had to stay in a house for 100 days; and I was really ‘living’ in that house rather than putting up a fake show. The point is, wherever I am I will always be the same person. People might have got confused while trying to understand me and that is not up to Santhosh Pandit. They made the mistake of passing opinions and judgments without trying to understand things clearly. My character is the same always.

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It doesn’t matter whether people like me or not…

My aim is to do everything possible by using my potential to the maximum. My first movie got released in 2011 and I had begun working for it from 2010 onwards. Nobody could have imagined that a movie could be made with just five lakh rupees until I actually did that. Did anybody think that a single person could do a lot of stuff both on and off screen like I have done? Had I walked around telling people that a movie could be made with five lakh rupees, then they would not believe me. But when you actually do what you say then they will be speechless. So it really doesn’t matter whether people like Santhosh Pandit or not, what matters is whether they were able to contemplate new ideas as I did. Living life meaningfully to its fullest is more important than simply surviving your days.

Gave up my job!

I got a government job when I was only 20 years old. I worked as a senior official with PWD. I quit my job three years ago because my interests in movies prevent me from fulfilling my responsibility as a government servant. When I went for an election duty once as a polling officer, it became a huge thing in media. I love to work and I remember going to the office on Sundays as well. I had to take leave of absence as I was busy with my movies and my pending work kept piling up. This eventually became difficult for my colleagues who tried to help me. Some people advised me to apply for a five year long leave. But then it would be an extra burden for another official who might be coming from some faraway place. It was my job to assign numbers to homes; so people would be waiting for my return. This caused difficulties to ordinary people who wait to apply for many other schemes or concessions once they get their homes numbered. Its definitely not their fault that Santhosh Pandit is into movies. So I decided to quit. There are lots of youngsters in Kerala who aspire for a government job. If one of them lands my post then its well and good. I always try to instill a positive energy in people by doing my job with perfection and not giving anybody a chance to complaint. We always try to blame others whenever a crisis occurs. But there is no point in blaming others when you can manage well through it.

My home up hill...

Though I have three houses this one on top of a hill in Narikuni, Calicut is my favorite. I bought this house way before I entered into the movies. I sold the house I had in the middle of city and told the brocker to find a quiet place where I could enjoy some peace of mind. That is how this place was found. When I bought this land the brocker told me it would be difficult to reach up a place like this. Well, having a house in the city obviously has its own benefits but I honestly don’t like loud and unnecessary noise. This place is so calm and peaceful; and rarely a vehicle goes by my house here. I need to fully concentrate on my creative musings and a quite place like this helps me. When I bought this land, there were hardly anybody living around but now there are few people. But this place is better compared to the busy city life.

Ambedkar colony...

There was a two-week break in between the movie with Mammokka. So I had resumed the work of my next movie ‘Urukku Sathish’ and it was then I noticed a piece of news in Manorama about the miserable plight of people at the Ambedkar Colony. I called up at Manorama to know more about the issues. I was appalled by the poor conditions in which people including little children were living in. So I decided to visit the colony and shared this on my facebook page. My fans at Govindapuram also told me that things at the colony were not very good.

The houses in the colony were almost on the verge of ruin and leaks even when there is a small drizzle. All most 700 people are living in that colony and they don’t even have money to get food. I wanted to buy rice, fruits and vegetables for all of them but it was difficult to find so many things at one place. I used my remuneration from Mamooka’s movie and an advance amount that I got for a Tamil project to purchase the goods.

I am always the same: all-rounder Santhosh Pandit Santhosh Pandit says he is appalled by the poor conditions in which people including little children live in.

I am not a person who complaints instead try to bring in a change by doing something about it. If you check my facebook page you will understand that I interact with common people on a regular basis. Most of the people at the colony did not study beyond class 11 or 12. They gave me a list of 85 students who fared well in studies. I do not have the financial back up to help all of them, so I told them I would help 8 kids and find sponsors for the rest. Their main complaint is that the Panchayat does not sanction their applications for houses. So I called up the Panchayat officials and enquired about the matter. But they vaguely said that they have to check files to give an answer.

The panchayat officials say that the people in the colony are not ready to accept any money to do some maintenance work on their homes instead they are adamant that they need new homes. I understood that caste is an issue here, and there are many people who try to take advantage of their lack of education. I wish to help the kids in the colony and do something for their education if I make more money.

Has people’s attitude towards Santhosh Pandit changed?

I always maintain cordial relationship with people around me. Some might have problems with my attitude but I am always the same. I don’t know whether their opinion of me has changed; but they still listen to my words whenever I appear on talk shows in TV. Besides I like talk shows rather than one to one interviews because it is really interesting to interact directly with people.

Coats and discussions...

I wear coats or blazers to all talk shows or TV programs. It is a marketing technique as I believe everybody should posses a unique mannerism for people to notice us. Though I love to wear a pair of casual shirt and jeans, I wear coats for TV shows to capture the attention of the audience. The hullaballoo created in the shows doesn’t otherwise bother me.

I chose movies because I wanted people to know me; otherwise I am not immensely passionate about films. I love meditating and I think it is my true passion. Life should be lived to its fullest; I always maintain a middle path as I don’t love or hate anything beyond a limit. But whenever I am into something, I approach it with utmost sincerity after well researching about it. I don’t pass a comment about something which I am not aware about.

I've never gone around asking for chances...

Even I like to make big movies with big stars like Mammotty; but I neither have the experience or financial back up to envisage a movie like that. Besides I don’t really have the attitude to ask around for chances. We should prove ourselves by actually doing something on our own rather than requesting somebody else to grant an opportunity. Everything should come naturally to you. I did a film because I wanted people to watch it and come to me with roles. The chance to act with Mamootty too came my way like that.

Love publicity...

You need friends to succeed but foes to be immensely successful. This is my motto in life. Criticisms don’t affect me at all; instead they give me the energy to work even more. When people accuse me of doing publicity stunts, I enjoy it because all these negative comments give me the strength to retaliate with more rationality and vigor. If somebody tries to challenge Santhosh Pandit unnecessarily then I would make sure that he gets a taste of his own medicine. For instance you might have noticed how I reacted to a group of mimicry artists who collectively tried to mock me. Well, they obviously underestimated me, they went speechless when I challenged them.

Experience with mammotty...

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I met Mamookka for the first time at Fathima Matha College, Kollam. He wished me luck when I sought his blessings. There are a few combination scenes with him. He helps me a lot by explaining things and supporting me. Everybody cooperates well and I think they like my work.

My father predicted this!

I never dreamed about movies but I have a Facebook account even before I entered movies. I used to post pictures of mine after grooming myself a bit. But I found that people were not hitting the ‘like’ button as I expected. Then I understood that I should get out of the usual and common for people to notice me. I don’t want to live a meaningless life without people knowing me. I wanted to get famous and I realized that movie stars, sportsmen and politicians enjoy huge popularity in our society. So I decided to make movies so that people will know me.

My father who was an astrologer had predicted that whatever I do it would obviously turn out to be a success. I had his words in my mind before I ventured into movies. I like to be super busy at all the time.

I had watched Bahubali 2 after Pulimurukan as I only watch 3 or 4 super hit movies a year. I don’t frequently watch movies to learn more about film making.

Youtube!

In the beginning I had no idea how to make money from movies. Somebody told me I could make money from Youtube simply by uploading videos. So I studied more about it and uploaded the song ‘Rathri shivarathri’ which I had edited. I told a person that I could give his ad along with the song if he pays me a rupee per viewer. He was a little skeptical in the beginning as he believed people only watched songs in which superstars have acted. But I convinced him and my song had around 25 lakh viewers. This is purely a marketing technique. I understand the Malayalee psyche well but Malayaless still don’t get me. Whoever criticizes me is a viewer of my movies as well.

I can get you…

I studied MSc Psychology; so I can understand people to a great extend. My knowledge in astrology and anatomy helps me to read people’s faces and say whether they are happy or sad. I usually don’t print flux boards of my movies for promotion; but my fans do. People watch my movies because I think my scripts are good. Even my hard core critics quote my dialogues often and they are quite popular in Whattsapp and Facebook.

Marketing is cool...

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Sometimes I post dialogues from my movies in WhatsApp and Facebook or upload a song on Youtube. If it catches the interest of few then it will be shared to more people within less time. This is how I do marketing for my movies without spending even a rupee. I think a lot of people are envious because if you don’t like my movies then why do you watch it, why do you listen to my songs or forward my dialogues as messages. You could say that you did not intentionally share my songs or dialogues. I have released around 64 songs so far and did you make the same mistake 64 times. If yes, then you have a problem not Santhosh Pandit.

Everything went my way...

Finally things happened the way I wanted it to be. When people mock me or criticize me, I enjoy it. I am famous and enjoy the creative space that I have now, my photographs get many ‘like’ in Facebook. As I told you earlier everything came to me in its natural course.

Positive attitude...

I am not upset about anything in my life. I studied the Vedas in my childhood and there is a shloka in which Arjuna asks Lord Krishna who is a real believer of Almighty. Krishna replies that he who finds happiness with oneself is the true follower of Lord. These days people live a ‘remote controlled’ life and get really sad or disappointed even at trivial things. It means that somebody else controls our life. If somebody tries to hurt me with their spiteful words, my answer to them would be a smile because I believe that those who criticize me don’t have the sense to understand Santhosh Pandit. I don’t allow any feuds to bother me because it would kill my happiness. I find my own happiness; and I know that I am not at all a person others imagine I am.

Future projects...

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My ‘Urukku Satheesan’ releases soon and after that I will begin working on my next “Brocker Premachandrante Leelavilasangal”. The idea for ‘Urukku Satheesan’ came to me while I was taking part in the reality show. One night few of my fellow female participants came into my room and pulled at my hair to check whether I was really bald and using a false hair. I couldn’t sleep that night and I thought what would happen when all these hair is gone. When I went completely bald for this movie everyone told I looked different. We can perform well only when we come out of the common and try to bring some sort of uniqueness to the character.

I would really like to work in movies which are not my own production. Presently I am doing movies in Tamil and Hindi. Soniya Agarwal and Beena Kapoor are playing my heroines in these films.

Family...

I have mother and a brother. My father passed away few years back. I am a divorcee and have a son.

The opinions expressed here do not reflect those of Malayala Manorama. Legal action under the IT Act will be taken against those making derogatory and obscene statements.

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