Deepak opens up on his role in John Paul Vaathil Thurakkunnu, directed by veteran Chandrahasan, and his upcoming films

Deepak is playing the hero. His nervousness is evident but so is his determination to prove that he is star material. A disciple of the Vineeth Sreenivasan school of acting, the star struck youngster from Kannur made his debut on the screen in a small role in Malarvadi Arts Club. His suave turnout as a villainous trafficker in Vineeth’s Thira caught eyeballs. But nothing, he says, prepared him for the role of John Paul, his character in John Paul Vaathil Thurakkunnu, directed by veteran Chandrahasan.

“It is a dream role for any newcomer and I have given it my best shot,” says Deepak on the sidelines of the dubbing in Thiruvananthapuram.

A quick sneak peek at Geethika Sudip Chandrahasan, the associate director of the film, who is also the director’s daughter, and then he says with a sly grin: “I was a little worried because the director is a senior person and I was not sure how it would be to work with him. So far, most of the directors I have worked with were around about my age. But a few days later, the cast and crew gelled and we got along beautifully.” The film, scripted and directed by Chandrahasan, is based on a short story by Punathil Kunjabdullah. This is the director’s comeback, three decades after he directed Prateeksha, his first film.

John Paul Vaathil Thurakkunnu, produced by Arjun Mohan, is touted to be a thriller. The action scenes in the film are reportedly some of the toughest that have been filmed in Malayalam cinema and the good looking actor vouches for that when he says that he was not sure if he could do it after a particularly gruelling take on the winding roads of Kuttikkanam and in a market there. “I had to run uphill, jump over walls and keep running…it was crazy. Once we leave our college days behind us, most of us don’t run like that. I thought I was fit! Thus, when I was told to repeat it for another take, I had doubts if I could find the energy to do it all over again. I managed to do it but I had cuts and bruises all over. I am sure the scenes are going to look mind-blowing in this thriller of a film,” he says.

Deepak also has a significant role in Bijith Bala’s Nellikka and he is off to Ajmer to shoot for the film. He plays Balu, an engineering student studying in Kolkata, a Bob Marley fan who just cannot tune in to his father’s passion for Baburaj songs. “It is again an interesting role and the scripts has many twists and turns. Veteran media person and film director Sasikumar plays the role of Haridaasan, my father,” says Deepak. Atul Kulkarni and Sija Rose are some of the other actors in Nellikka.

“When I was selected to attend the acting workshop organised to choose the cast for Malarvadi Arts Club, I was hoping to be one among the five protagonists. Although I was not part of the five, Vineeth ettan did give me a role in the film (that of a young student activist). I was the only actor from that movie who got a chance to work with him for Thira,” says Deepak who cannot thank Vineeth enough for giving him a foothold in tinsel town. He adds that it was Vineeth himself who advised him to take up the role.

“I have great expectations about John Paul Vaathil Thurakkunnu,” admits Deepak.

As the film is poised to reach theatres in July, Deepak hopes this movie will open the door to meatier characters and big banners.

Director’s take

“It was Vineeth himself who suggested Deepak’s name. What is remarkable about Deepak is his discipline and willingness to work hard, a common trait to all those who came from that workshop that Vineeth had arranged prior to the shooting of Malarvadi Arts Club. We were shooting in difficult terrain and under difficult conditions. But not once did Deepak crib,” says Geethika.