As a strident hit man on the streets in pursuit of the don, Narain captured the Tamil audiences' hearts with his first film, Chithiram Pesudhadi. His next film, Anjadhe elevated his versatility and act of underplay further up the notch. A couple of mass potboilers later, Mugamoodi under Mysskin's direction was his latest in Tamil. Narain divides his time between the Malayalam film industry where he is recognised as one of the fine actors, and the Tamil film industry, where his heart truly lies.
After seven years in Kollywood, his current position is a bit shaky with Narain battling between his own passion and the need to be a recognised star. Then, why did Narain, who had proved himself a successful hero in his home ground – Malayalam cinema, aim to carve out a place for himself in the Tamil filmdom? Narain explains how destiny had tied his interests around Kollywood. "My favourite star is Kamal Haasan. I studied at the Film Institute in Chennai and apprenticed with cameraman Rajeev Menon. In those first seven years, I used to go for documentary shoots trying to get involved in the odds and ends of cinema. I think that linked me strongly here. This where my dreams took shape."
And has he found his comfort zone in Kollywood? "As Mysskin puts it, I am treading a thin red line and I have got to be careful about my journey. Between being an actor and a star, I have to decide which the better place to be in is. And, since I am in the main league, I have to find my own niche by making myself commercially viable. In the movie business, I am just doing a part. I should have been a character of sorts who has his way in anything he does," laughs Narain. "Since the past two years I have been trying to choose a suitable script to work on even though I haven't attained a big position in the industry. I guess I will have to wait till the right moment arrives. But I am happy that I have withstood the low," he adds.
"A celebrity definitely needs his comfort zone, particularly, because an actor faces a lot of pressure and is always in the public eye. His home should work well giving him that safety and security," he feels. While shooting away from home, Narain longs to come back, not because he wants to lie on his own bed, but because he wants to be with his three-year old child. Building a house has never been Narain's ambition, but shuttling between the two states has brought up the need of owning a place. "May be that will keep me rooted to one place. By the end of this year, I should be able to make a decision. I don't spend much time in Chennai. So there is no point in doing up a house here," he says. But, in the future if he does construct a house, he would like to add his own style to it. To him, his ancestral home in downtown Kerala has a lasting impression. The palatial house with its open windows and doors has always given him a sense of belonging and security. He doubts if he will be able to construct such a big house here, and if he could ever do that, he is sure it would be his get-away from his challenging profession. "I would like to have my room filled with photographs and pictures of different forms of art, artists and books with an informal, bachelor-feeling to it, to sit or sleep anywhere" he says.
On the other hand, as a passionate actor, Narain's comfort zone has always been the movie theatres. "I feel so warm and close to my destiny inside a theatre. I used to stand outside Devi theatre dreaming of the day when my posters will be up on its walls. And years later, with the release of my Tamil film, it happened! Now, I want to go back to that same spot to feel those care-free, ambitious vibes once again," he muses. Meanwhile, he has his hopes pinned on his next film which is likely to hit the floors in a few months. Good luck to you Narain!