I Wanted to Become An Associate Director: Soubin Shahir

The actor speaks about his first directorial, his acting process, and when he will direct his next film
Soubin Shahir
Soubin ShahirFilm Companion Interview

Actor Soubin Shahir, who was last seen in Ayalvaashi and the hit horror hit Romancham, has received widespread praise from audiences for his roles. In a conversation with Vishal Menon, Soubin revealed that he never planned on becoming an actor. Instead, he was solely focused on becoming a chief associate director during his stint as an assistant director on several Malayalam films. 

“At the start, I joined as an assistant director but was told never to look at it as a salaried job. It was always about learning the nuances. The hope then was to become the chief associate director one day. There was still a lot left to learn. So, more than becoming a director one day, the aim was to just become an associate director. It was during this phase that I was approached to act in films like Annayum Rasoolum (2013). However, I had this feeling that I should direct films. So I decided to take a break from acting. I was just going with the flow”, asserts Soubin.Ela Veezha Poonchira

A still from Ayalvaashi
A still from Ayalvaashi

Soubin made his debut in Fazil’s Kaiyethum Dhoorath (2002), however, it was his role as a PT teacher in Premam (2015) that cemented his position as a bonafide talent in Malayalam cinema. Despite acting actively for over 10 years, the actor believes it is difficult for him to get out of his previous characters when he embarks on new projects. 

Recounting his experience preparing for Romancham, the actor says, “Before filming Romancham, I had just completed Elaveezha Poonjira (2022), which saw me play a police officer, and Vellari Pattanam (2023) in which I played a politician. It was tough for me to relax my posture and get into the skin of my character in Romancham. Only after spending a lot of time with the crew that I was able to create that comfort level and relaxed attitude which was required for that role.”

A still from Romancham
A still from Romancham

In addition to his accomplishments as an actor, Soubin earned plaudits from the critics and audiences alike for his directorial debut Parava in 2017. The film remains his only directing credit. Soubin believes that his widespread success as an actor has allowed him the luxury of time to decide on a second project for directing. “ If I were not a successful actor, I would have had to direct another film after Parava. But now, I am taking my time to make my next movie. When I do my next film, I do not want to overthink it beyond the fact that it’s my second movie.”

Despite having worked for over a decade, Soubin says he is not immune to criticism or praise yet. “The cycle of criticism and praise still affects me. I feel that people generally focus more on the negative aspect. Say we work on a superhit film and it’s running well. If an ordinary film releases after that, all the “good” of the hit film is quickly forgotten. The audience would say that this is not what we want from you. So, it’s a constant cycle and we can only improve through the process,” believes the actor.

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