Popular theatre artiste Preetam Koilpillai is back as the lead actor in Primetime with The Murthys!

This new series on JioCinema brings into focus the hilarious trials and tribulations of an English-speaking South Indian family in Bengaluru…
Popular theatre artiste Preetam Koilpillai is back as the lead actor in Primetime with The Murthys!

Preetam Koilpillai is not a new name in Bengaluru. So much so, across the country’s theatre circles, he has always been considered a name to reckon with. Playwright, actor, director and musician, the immensely talented artiste is now making his official debut on the big screen. Playing the lead character in Primetime with The Murthys — a new show that has just started airing on JioCinema —  the series is a slice of life narrative that voyeurs into the typical household affairs of an English speaking family in a South Indian urban city. Preetam plays the role of Manohar Murthy who is a reserved, rational, non-judgemental and over-qualified jobless dad to two children. We catch up with Preetam to find out more.

Preetam Koilpillai
Preetam Koilpillai

How has the experience with Primetime with The Murthys been?

The experience has been absolutely great. I’ve always maintained that with every production, whether it’s theatre or film, the people you work with are really what makes the experience special. My fellow cast members on the show — we’ve pretty much become like a real family. Everybody was so supportive of each other, so kind. We’ve all become good friends now. That’s one of the biggest things that made this experience special for me. This was also a first because I’ve never played a principal character in a show before. I’m very grateful for that opportunity. I had a lot of fun on set. It was brilliant for me that we were shooting in English. It made things really comfortable for me. There was this opportunity to get into a little improv and have a little fun on set and that’s what made it even better.

Preetam Koilpillai
Preetam Koilpillai

Tell us a little more about the show?

In Primetime with the Murthys, the family is essentially a dysfunctional family, if you can call it that. We all have our own little quirks and our own little things going on. Our own situations, problems, challenges with things outside and sometimes with each other as well. We shot in Bengaluru. I think the intention was always to make a Bengaluru-based show. The Murthy’s are cosmopolitan and they speak in English — something a lot of urban Bengalureans can associate with.

Still from the show
Still from the show

This was your return after quite the hiatus?

I lost the connection with theatre for a while, which is why I really stopped doing plays. I didn’t have anything to bring me back to it. During the COVID-19 lockdowns, however, a friend wanted me to do some play readings and I went and I enjoyed it. It awakened something inside me that I didn’t realise I had. Most of my journey through theatre has been production and directing and so on, but not really as an actor. So, this awoke something new in me. I felt a comfort level. Something was connecting inside me. I felt that things were real and were finally making sense.

Preetam Koilpillai
Preetam Koilpillai

But this wasn’t your real debut on the big screen?

I got a very small part in a show called Killer Soup on Netflix before this. I’d never been in front of a camera before. What made me realise is that I completely enjoyed this. I had no fear, which is such a different thing compared to being on stage, for me. Despite the fact, that there’s a camera and there are people around and so on, there was no fear and that to me was a revelation because I couldn’t imagine that I could feel like this. It was amazing, because I felt that I’m beginning to get onto a journey that is making sense to me after this whole gap of really not doing anything.

Preetam Koilpillai
Preetam Koilpillai

Lastly, can we expect you to do full feature length films anytime soon?

Well, I hope to, I now know I want to pursue films. I want to pursue acting for screen very specifically. So, right now I continue with this. I continue to look for opportunities. I would be very interested. I am very keen on seeing where that goes. Whether it’s TV or film, let’s hope something works out.

Primetime with The Murthys is now streaming on JioCinema.

Email: romal@newindianexpress.com
X: @elromal

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