Films are my true calling, says debut actor Arun Shankar
Arun Shankar wanted to be a musician, and during his school days he took his first steps by forming a band and performing Bon Jovi and Greenday numbers. However, like many a teenager’s dream, fate intervened and the band disintegrated. Opportunity came knocking again when he was in college, where he was spotted by a photographer who took some stills of him and spread the word. The doors to the modelling world opened, and ramp shows and television commercials followed. Acting was the natural progression and Arun, who is the son of yesteryear actor Shankar Mohan (Manju, Veenapoovu, Kaattile Paatu) will be seen in his debut role playing a Rajput in Jayaraj’s Camel Safari, which releases this Thursday.
A picture of youthful exuberance, Arun speaks at some length about his route to the silver screen, “The turning point was a commercial for Malabar Gold directed by V.K. Prakash, it gave me a taste of being in front of the camera and soon after that Jayaraj sir approached me with the idea of Camel Safari. It took him about a year to finish the script but when he narrated the story I was instantly hooked.”
Arun, who hails from Mavelikara, spent his entire life in Delhi, where his father is currently festival director (International Film Festival of India) for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. During school he dabbled in theatre under the guidance of playwright and director Sayeed Alam, an experience, he claims, that stands him in good stead. “I was a very shy guy back then,” he says, displaying no vestige of the trait as he continues, “The experience of putting myself on a stage in front of amazingly talented actors and directors really gave me an idea of what acting is like, and it helped me become more open and confident.”
Working with Jayaraj made his stint in front of the camera a comfortable one, and Arun has high hopes for his first on-screen venture. “I’ll be the first person to say the movie will be a hit with the audiences because it has something for everyone. Camel Safari sees a girl falling for the boy instead of the other way round, and the vivid backgrounds of Rajasthan are a great setting for a love story, despite the weather not providing the easiest conditions to shoot in,” Arun says in reference to the early morning shoots for scenes involving him and fellow newcomer Pankaja Menon.
Now that he has a film under his belt, the 24-year-old is excited about the future and confident that films are his true calling. “I have a couple of offers in Hindi and Malayalam at the moment, and I’m also working on a few scripts of my own, a romance and a gangster story,” he reveals. Any aspirations of getting behind the camera? “I’m not sure I am competent enough for that yet, and seeing Jayaraj sir at work has reinforced that belief. But ten years down the line, who knows?” he says, the carefree exuberance still very much in place.
The cast of Camel Safari includes Tini Tom, Binu Adimali, Sekhar Menon and Kamal Gaur. The film is produced by Rejimon Kappaparambil and set to release on September 26.