Movies

When Melissa became Amina in ‘Moothon’

Actor Melissa Raju Thomas is on cloud nine after her feature film debut in Geetu Mohandas’ acclaimed project

Melissa Raju Thomas can’t keep the excitement out of her voice. The former Navy Queen (2012) made her acting debut in Geetu Mohandas’ Moothon, which released last week to glowing reviews. The best possible launch vehicle (for her career) and her performance being appreciated, she says it can’t get better.

“This is possibly the best start...acting with Nivin, Shashank (Arora), and Sobhita (Dhulipala), Geetu Mohandas as director...the whole team, in fact,” Melissa says over phone.

Melissa had auditioned with Geetu earlier but at the time the director didn’t have a role that would be a fit for her. So, the call from Geetu was from out of the blue. She states frankly, “When I got the call I didn’t expect anything.” Geetu asked Melissa, who was in Mumbai, to get to Kochi for an audition. In Mumbai she was modelling and had been acting in short films. The director was casting and auditioning for her film, Moothon, she wanted to see if Melissa could be one of the characters.

An overnight journey later she headed straight for the audition. As she auditioned, she had a gut feeling that “this is right.” And it was. Geetu came up to her with a smile, “I have found Amina.” Her character was not easy, the role of a village girl from Lakshadweep who reaches Mumbai and undergoes transformation was challenging. From an innocent village girl to a bar dancer, she gained around 6 kilos for the role. “Geetu is a realistic director, she wanted me to look real and the part.” She says over phone. “I am lucky to be part of the film. It is a gritty intense film, with moments of love and beauty, it is a moving, interesting love story.

Acting is just a part of Melissa’s interest in films. She is interested in what she calls the creative side of films – telling stories. She scripted and acted in a short film Faded, which released on YouTube. “I didn’t direct it, I didn’t know how. I was an associate director so that I could get an idea of the production.” Encouraged by the response, she has begun work on a script for a feature. It is too soon to say anything she adds. Writing, she says, helps her as an actor, it gives her a perspective on the script and vice versa.

Melisssa may be new to films, but not to acting. As a student of the National University of Singapore she was part of the university theatre group, “We put up original plays, at ticketed events...so yes, it was serious,” she says. The daughter of a Thiruvananthapuram-based retired Army officer had lived and travelled all over the country. After her Class 10, she moved to Singapore for her A-Levels and college education. Before she left, she was already a television anchor, after having won reality show, a hunt for video jockeys as a 13 year old.

Despite the prior experience, as video jockey, she was nervous on the first day. “I wasn’t awestruck but I was intimidated. I felt the pressure, and then Nivin told me to have fun with it and not to get pressured. After that I felt much better.”

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 7:30:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/melissa-raju-thomas-is-on-cloud-nine-after-her-debut-in-geetu-mohandas-moothon/article29983797.ece

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