Sajin Gopu on ‘Aavesham’: ‘Playing Ambaan was a tightrope walk’

Sajin Gopu is getting rave reviews for his character in the Fahadh Faasil-blockbuster Aavesham

Updated - April 25, 2024 12:14 pm IST

Published - April 25, 2024 10:12 am IST

Sajin Gopu with Fahadh Faasil, Mithun Jai Shankar, Hipzter and Roshan Shahnavaz on the location of Aavesham

Sajin Gopu with Fahadh Faasil, Mithun Jai Shankar, Hipzter and Roshan Shahnavaz on the location of Aavesham | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Fahadh Faasil-starrer gangster comedy Aavesham, directed by Jithu Madhavan, is Fahadh’s show. The actor has gone all out as the lovable, caricature don, Ranga. Another actor who has come in for equal measure of praise is Sajin Gopu, who plays Ranga’s trusted aide, the goofy Ambaan.

The duo has created a riot on screen and one cannot miss the excitement in Sajin’s voice when we catch up with him for an interview. “I have already seen the film six times in theatres,” says Sajin with a guffaw over the telephone. The actor, who had impressed viewers with his roles in Churuli, Jan.E.Manand Romancham, adds, “I rarely watch my films repeatedly. But there is a magic in Aavesham, perhaps because of the barrage of events in the narrative.”

Actor Sajin Gopu

Actor Sajin Gopu | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Aavesham is set in Bengaluru around the lives of three engineering students — Bibi, Aju and Shanthan, who are on the lookout for a local goonda to take revenge on their seniors who ragged them. Their search ends with Ranga, who walks around in an all-white attire, flashing his gold chains and rings, with his gang. The mighty Ambaan is the one who leads the pack in all the fights. At the same time Ambaan leaves the audience in splits when he narrates stories of Ranga’s past, based on hearsay.

“I had no frame of reference. Jithu had designed the look along the lines of Vikraman (of the iconic Vikraman-Muthu duo, a pair of thieves in Mayavi ,a Malayalam comic strip series published in a children’s publication), especially the T-shirt, hair, sideburns, moustache and overall appearance. It was surprising that many in the audience could identify that resemblance,” Sajin says.

Becoming Ambaan involved putting on weight and training for the action sequences. “Jithu’s brief was that I should look like a bulked-up goonda with a pot-belly and all. For the fight scenes, I underwent a week’s training,” he says.

Sajin Gopu with Jithu Madhavan, director of Aavesham

Sajin Gopu with Jithu Madhavan, director of Aavesham | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Sajin enjoyed the freedom that Jithu gave him to play the character. “Except for a few scenes, he let me do my own thing as Ambaan. However, it was a tightrope walk. If I had gone overboard with the comedy, the audience would have panned me. Both Rangan and Ambaan are eccentric, over-the-top characters. But Jithu told us that if Rangan is loud in a scene, Ambaan is subdued, and vice versa. That’s how he balanced their energy,” Sajin explains.

The actor admits that it was not easy to share the screen with Fahadh, one of the finest actors in the country. “The entire crew was excited to see him perform. We discussed our scenes before going for the shot. The problem arose when he improvised and I had to match up to that. Initially it was not easy because I have never been in such a situation in my career,” he says, adding that his favourite scene in the movie is the one where Fahadh portrays Rangan’s emotional turmoil, especially when his mother leaves.

Sajin Gopu with Fahadh Faasil on the location of Aavesham

Sajin Gopu with Fahadh Faasil on the location of Aavesham | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Sajin, a native of Aluva near Kochi, recollects that it was after graduation that he started developing an interest in acting. “My aim was to study and get a job. I did theatre for a couple of years after college and started going for auditions without informing my family. The auditions were tough. However, that struggle instilled in me a passion for acting.”

He went on make a short film and eventually got small roles in films such as Thilothama, Mumbai Taxi and Marubhoomiyile Aana. “None of the films reached the audience and so I was not noticed. There was no one to guide me as to how to go about the whole thing. I decided to take a break. However, thanks to my friends, I got roles in Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Churuli and Chidambaram’s Jan.E.Man, which released on the same day in 2021,” he says. Later, director-producer John Paul George called him to play the character Niroop in Jithu’s directorial debut, the horror comedy, Romancham (2023).

“After these films did well, I started getting offers to play comic, rough-and-tough characters. I didn’t take them up. When I was offered Aavesham, I had no second thoughts even though the character was also of the same template. It would have been a huge loss if I had let it go.”

In between he could not take up “a few serious roles like the one in Bramayugam due to a clash in dates. However, I am playing an intense character in my next project, which stars Basil Joseph.”

A huge fan of yesteryear Malayalam actor Murali, Sajin adds that he loves to play the kind of characters played by Vinayakan and Tamil actor SJ Suryah. Meanwhile, he is an aspiring writer as well. “I am not a professional writer, but I have written some of the interesting incidents in my life. Hopefully I will be able to bring it on screen soon. My priority currently is acting.”

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