From cassock to celluloid - priest Johnson turns a new leaf

Aug 31, 2010 Sanu George

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 31 (IANS) Johnson Karoor is charting a new path - he has shed his priest's cassock to fulfil his celluloid dreams with the Malayalam movie 'Nirakazcha', which is running in theatres. He says the decision was his own and that his peers at the Syro Malankara Catholic Church didn't show him the door.

'The decision to come out of the priestly duties was mine. I served as a priest for more than a decade and I began to get a feeling that it is time for me to pursue my interest in the realms of art and culture. So I decided to call it a day from my priestly duties,' Johnson told IANS.

He is a multifaceted personality and the very fact that he has seven post-graduate degrees and currently studying for a masters in education from the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) shows that his interests lie elsewhere.

'It was in June that I decided to inform my superiors that it was time for me to leave the profession and I did that. I have the same mobile number I have been using for long and I do have links with my church and my superiors,' Johnson added.

Johnson gives credit to his director friend Aneesh J. Karnad for his entry into the tinsel world with 'Nirakazhcha', which is about an Italian painter who visits Kerala to recreate the magnificent Raja Ravi Varma paintings and falls in love with a model.

'I know the director of the film. When he offered me a role, I decided why not try my luck. It was a small role and I enjoyed it. Now I have been offered a role in a Tamil film and I have accepted it too,' said Johnson who is on the permanent faculty at a training college in central Kerala.

Johnson, who had earlier brought out a audio/video devotional music album, is enjoying the new found freedom.

'Of course, as a priest, there were limitations and now I am happy with what I am doing. I am a quizmaster in a Doordarshan conducted Sports Quiz,' said Johnson who pointed out that his father too wanted to be a priest but discontinued his course and opted to be an ordinary member of the church.

He feels he will get more offers from the film industry and preferred to keep his age a secret like his now 'contemporaries' in the industry. He laughed it off when asked if marriage is on the cards.

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