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In the hot seat

Rajith Menon

Rajith Menon   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

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Meet a few young actors who enjoy their stint behind the camera



Cinema is their first love and they have the looks and talent to romance the camera. Acting opportunities gave them their first break in tinsel town but they chose to wield the microphone to helm films that are trending on YouTube. Rajith Menon, Vishnu Raghav, Aaryan Krishna Menon and Sarayu are all young actors-turned directors who have their viewers clicking on the like button and sharing their movie. Their aim is the big screen.

Rajith Menon

Overwhelmed. That is Rajith Menon’s current state of mind. The 27-year-old forayed into Malayalam cinema in the movie Goal in 2007. He is on cloud nine with the Tamil-Hindi music video that he directed going viral on YouTube. ‘Anbendraale Amma’, sung by Shwetha Mohan (Saptaparna Chakraborthy has sung the Hindi version) is dedicated to mothers, a poignant tale of how a mother (Zarina Wahab) in an old age home longs to meet her son.

Rajith’s debut directorial venture was a music video, Love Policy, starring Aju Varghese and Shritha Sivadas. For this mechanical engineer, his life changed when he went to see the shoot of Karutha Pakshikal. He was noticed by Sugeeth, the then associate director of Kamal. Very soon, he was launched by Kamal himself in Goal. He went on to work for directors such as I.V. Sasi, Joshiy, Rajasenan and T.K. Rajeev Kumar, in Malayalam, and crossed borders to do films in Tamil and Telugu. “But direction always fascinated me. Whenever I watched a movie I always thought about how the idea might have born on a blank paper,” he says.

‘Anbendraale Amma’, he says, is a reminder to all those who neglect their mothers. “There is nothing out-of-the-box in it and so I was quite apprehensive about how people will take it. But many called up to say that they were moved to tears,” says Rajith, making special note of Renjith Unni, who composed the melodious track.

Meanwhile his second Telugu movie, Sree Ramaraksha, and first Hindi movie, Hotel Beautifool are ready for release. He is currently working on another music video, ‘Dhun’. Next on his agenda is a short film and then, of course, a feature film.

Vishnu G. Raghav

For Vishnu G. Raghav, cinema was never an alien field, thanks to his father, veteran film still photographer, R. Gopalakrishnan. Vishnu has two short films to his credit – For Hire and Open Your Mind, while the music video he directed, ‘Everafter’ is trending on the social media. For this civil engineer, the pull of cinema was so strong that he left behind his job in Chennai in three months time. The 27–year–old debuted as an actor in Orkut Oru Ormakoot and then went on to do a standout role in Theevram. His ambition to direct was encouraged by Roopesh Peethambaran, director of Theevram.

When For Hire, his first short, won him rave reviews and awards, that was “motivation enough to make Open Your Mind” with Bhavana, Saikumar and Bindu Panicker in the cast. Directing the music video was more like a celebration of his friendship with composer Roby Abraham, who is launching his music band with actress Madonna Sebastian as the lead singer. “Roby had worked with me in my two short films. We had a limited budget and it was shot in a building under construction after it was given a temporary make-over,” says Vishnu, who has also directed a couple of ad films.Vishnu has decided to stick to direction and is working on a subject for his first feature film.

Aaryan Krishna Menon

Twenty-four lakh views and still counting. The incredible response to his directorial debut, Burn My Body, on the YouTube, has still not sunk in for Aaryan Krishna Menon.

The 28-year-old was always attracted to cinema and film-making from his academic days. “As a director you create something new, which is such an amazing feeling,” says Aaryan. His journey towards the dream started with radio. He won a contest run by a private FM channel and his enthusiasm impressed the channel so much that within a week he was hosting the same show. An interview with Mammootty came as a turning point. “I kept pestering him for five days and finally he agreed. During the chat, he asked whether I would love to act! That was like surreal,” says Aaryan. Before he knew, he got the negative role in Lal’s Tournament. Playing the younger version of Anupam Kher in Blessy’s Pranayam followed.

However, when a better job opportunity came he shifted to Dubai, only to return a few years later. “I was sure that I want to do films and since most of my friends had made inroads into movies by then I was more confident. It was Vineeth [Sreenivasan] who advised me to build a team and work towards my goal,” he says. Burn My body, which is about a necrophiliac who works in a mortuary, is the result of such a team work. “I was planning to make a docu-fiction. It was then that I heard about a real-life instance of necrophilia in a mortuary. We did research for about six months, consulting doctors and lawyers before going ahead with the project. I had my reservations about how people would take it, but the response was mind-blowing,” says Aaryan.

A huge fan of Blessy’s style of film-making, Aaryan is already working on his first movie, a period film. “Expectations are high from the audience and so I will start only when I am happy with the script,” he says.

Sarayu

The actress debuted as a director with the short film Pacha, which is about how the colour green has been a constant in her life.

“I love writing and one of them was about the colour green. My friends suggested that it had the potential for visual presentation. That’s how we hit upon the idea of a short film. I didn’t have to prepare much because it was my friends who were working with me. I was a pampered director, so to say,” says Sarayu who has also acted in the film. While actress Bhama gave the voice-over, actress Ananya sang the track in the short film.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 7:09:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/actors-who-love-being-behind-the-camera/article8188158.ece

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