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Exclusive! Arjun Ashokan on Ajagajantharam: I had my doubts on how someone so scrawny could be a villain

The Mollywood actor, who is part of Ajagajantharam, Madhuram, Jan-E-Man and Super Sharanya, talks about his movies, his process as an actor and more

  • Sanjith Sidhardhan

Last Updated: 11.03 AM, Dec 23, 2021

Exclusive! Arjun Ashokan on Ajagajantharam: I had my doubts on how someone so scrawny could be a villain
Arjun Ashokan

It’s safe to say that Arjun Ashokan is on a golden run right now. After Jan-E-Man that had him in a pivotal role emerged as this year’s sleeper hit, the actor is part of three releases in the next two weeks – Tinu Pappachan’s Ajagajantharam, Ahammed Kabeer’s Madhuram and Gireesh AD’s Super Sharanya.

Point out that he has hit a purple patch, the actor, in his usual coy self, deflects the compliment. However, he tells OTTplay that he is thrilled by the response that the multi-starrer Jan-E-Man has been receiving since its theatrical release last month.

“I am very happy with the feedback,” says Arjun. “It’s a movie that we did with a group of friends and even though it was released with other big films, it got the maximum number of shows as the week progressed. Also, within a month of its release, its remake rights in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi were sold and that just doubles the joy.”

The actor credits its director Chidambaram for making the film with an ensemble cast so engaging. “In this movie, every character had equal space and that’s the director’s magic. The energy that you see onscreen is what is there among us in real life too. All of us see each other often and our discussions are almost always about cinema. So, the reason for that energy level in Jan-E-Man is because we share that camaraderie,” he explains.

Talking about energy levels, Arjun had to step up his game for Ajagajantharam, in which he plays the antagonist to Antony Varghese’s character. The action-packed entertainer, which released in theatres today, was also “physically challenging” for the actor. “I was lean and was in the process of losing weight for another film when I was approached for Ajagajantharam. So, I had my doubts of how someone so scrawny could be a villain. But Tinu chettan was confident. After doing the film, I believe it has worked out,” he says.

The Varathan actor also says that action scenes exacted a lot out of its actors. “It was a gruelling film for everyone. All of us had to put in a lot of physical effort to make it look convincing. These days, when movies are released on 4K and 8K digital resolutions, we don’t have the luxury to relax for action scenes. We have to hit and be hit. When the person on the other side is a friend, we might be a bit hesitant, but when they too are ready to take a beating for the movie then that energy bounces off of you and that’s what the audience will see on screen,” says Arjun, about its violent action scenes.

While Ajagajantharam has him in an intense and ruffian role, Arjun will be seen as a refined and suave character in Joju George-starrer Madhuram, which will release on SonyLIV on December 24. Ask him if there’s a particular zone that is comfortable as an actor and he says, “I don’t really have a comfort zone. It depends entirely on the team that I work with. I try to create that zone in all the projects I work on.”

Is that also why he has consciously stayed away from being stereotyped? “It wasn’t deliberate from my side. All the roles that I have got so far have been different. I believe I am a director’s actor and the characters that I have played are the ones that they have moulded for me,” explains Arjun, who also has Rajeev Ravi’s Thuramukham and Super Saranya lined up for theatrical release in January 2022.

For someone who started his career with Orkut Oru Ormakoot in 2012 and did To Let Ambady Talkies in 2014, there had been a gap of almost three years before he bagged another project. Ask him if that gap helped refine his skills and Arjun says, “Not really. I never went for an acting class or got any film offers. In fact, I was thinking of moving on and taking up another career, but that’s when I got another chance with Parava and since then there has been no looking back.”

Next year, Arjun will also face another test – as a lead actor when his movie Member Rameshan 9-aam Ward releases. “The pressure is definitely different, but I am still in denial because I haven’t had a film yet in which I played the lead. So, depending on its success, I will see whether I have to play lead roles or continue doing character-oriented parts,” laughs Arjun.

Irrespective of the film’s success, the young actor has a host of upcoming films lined up including Trishanku and Ennittu Avasanam with Anna Ben and the Prithviraj Sukumaran-Shaji Kailas film Kaduva.