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Kannum Kannum Kollaiyadithaal's Rakshan: ‘Sivakarthikeyan’s success makes directors look at people like me’

Rakshan

Rakshan   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The popular television anchor, who grabbed eyeballs with his starring performance in the recent Dulquer Salmaan film, on his unusual climb to success

Rakshan has been at the receiving and giving end of con jobs in his life.

As the victim, it was quite hard to take lying down. Being duped off huge sums of money seldom elicits a pleasant feeling about the self, especially when said money was raised after pawning your mother’s jewels.

“I was trying so hard to break into films then,” says Rakshan, of a time in the late Noughties and early 2010s.

“People whom I approached [for opportunities] asked me money. They told me to get ₹50 lakh to ₹1 crore. I collected some ₹15 lakh and gave it to a ‘director’ who promised to make me a hero. It was money that my mother helped gather by pawning things including her nose ring. One day after I gave them the money, the entire team working on that film vanished,” he adds.

The Star Vijay anchor, who made a star turn in Desingh Periyasamy’s recently-released Kannum Kannum Kollaiyadithaal as a con artist alongside Dulquer Salmaan, is a real live wire. When quizzed of the con job he pulled off, he says, “It is actually like a scene straight out of a movie.”

Rakshan

Rakshan   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Pulling off a con

Out of cash and out of luck, Rakshan, whose real name is Ram Kumar, gave up on his screen dreams, albeit temporarily, and came to terms with the fact that he had to enter the salaried workforce to keep his family afloat.

There was just one problem. A school dropout is not likely to be highly thought of by potential employers.

“I had problems studying. I dropped out after Class X. I found it difficult to follow what was being taught. My friends tell me I’m dyslexic. I don’t know. What I know is that I couldn’t copy what my teachers were writing on the board. I couldn’t even copy from my friends during exam!”

And so, when he had to take up a job, his friends prepared a fake resume. “It was a job opportunity at a BPO centre. They (his friends) put all kinds of things on it like I was Quality Analyst and such. I had no idea what it was,” he says.

Rakshan

Rakshan   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

On the day of the interview, as he was pacing about the office floor not knowing what to do, Rakshan stopped to ask for a glass of water. He was shown the way to a water dispenser, which was placed on the floor where the company’s many call centre employees were handling one phone call after another.

“I listened into a conversation. One guy was being yelled at by a customer. He escalated the issue to his superior, who asked him a few questions like: ‘Is it an inbound or outbound call?’ The guy said outbound. The supervisor then asked him if he had done a ‘sales pitch’ and the guy said ‘yes’. I stood there observing their exchange silently. When I went into the interview room, the recruiters looked at my profile and asked me if I had worked in inbound or outbound calls. I said ‘outbound’ and then they asked me if it was tech support or sales pitch. I said, ‘sales pitch’, and then managed to make up an imaginary example based on what I had just witnessed outside. That was it. I got the job,” he chuckles.

Charting his own path

It is not an isolated incident in the life of Rakshan. His street smartness took him through several jobs and businesses; he has done it all — from being a pharmacy help to selling clothes, restoring totalled cars and getting into the middleman business helping pet owners sell puppies to others for a commission.

But it is his uncanny ability to memorise events and scripts, however many pages it may be, that brought him to the doorstep of success and eventual fame with Star Vijay.

(L to R) Rakshan, Niranjani Ahathian, Ritu Varma and Dulquer Salmaan in a still from ‘Kannum Kannum Kollaiyadithaal’

(L to R) Rakshan, Niranjani Ahathian, Ritu Varma and Dulquer Salmaan in a still from ‘Kannum Kannum Kollaiyadithaal’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

“It is what I used to do as a host of Kalakka Povathu Yaaru. It is something that (actors) Sivakarthikeyan anna and Simbu (STR) anna appreciated me for; though if you ask my teachers, they would not have anything nice to say about me.”

Once bitten twice shy goes the saying. So when his TV fame brought along offers, Rakshan was happy to pass them over as he thought they would never materialise.

“When I learnt that I was playing a full fledged role alongside Dulquer, I was sold. I remember thinking... ‘Aha, inime Kerala la puttu and kadala curry namakku free’. But I don’t know how to thank Dulquer for giving me that space. Knowing him, he would only ask why should I need to thank him,” Rakshan remarks.

Kannum Kannum... received a positive response at the box office, and Rakshan is hopeful that the film’s success will lead to better offers. But he is not about to turn his back on television.

“I will only try cinema as a parallel to my television commitment. People smile at me when I’m in a restaurant, asking me how I am doing because of my television presence. The audience connect is better there,” he says, adding in conclusion: “It is Sivakarthikeyan anna’s success in cinema that has made it possible for producers to sit up and take notice of people like me, you know... anchors. I don’t know if it is confidence or superstition on their part. But as long as it continues, I will be happy.”

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 7:57:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/sivakarthikeyans-success-makes-directors-to-look-at-people-like-me-rakshan/article30972542.ece

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