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Exclusive! Rocket Boys actor Arjun Radhakrishnan: After Dear Friend, I’d like to do more work in Malayalam

The actor, who was last seen in Kunchacko Boban and Joju George’s Pada, talks about his role in the upcoming Tovino Thomas-starrer

  • Sanjith Sidhardhan

Last Updated: 08.46 AM, Jun 08, 2022

Exclusive! Rocket Boys actor Arjun Radhakrishnan: After Dear Friend, I’d like to do more work in Malayalam
Arjun Radhakrishnan

The first six months of 2022 has been nothing short of remarkable for young actor Arjun Radhakrishnan. While he was an unknown face till February 2022, his role as APJ Abdul Kalam instantly made him a recognisable face. He followed that up with a short role in Amitabh Bachchan’s Jhund and then a noteworthy performance as the IAS officer in Kamal KM’s important film Pada who is held hostage. Now, he is gearing up for his first commercial theatrical release with Dear Friend.

Ask Arjun if it helps that he is following up an intense film such as Pada in Malayalam with a movie like Dear Friend that tells the story of a group of friends in Bengaluru and he says, “Most definitely. Firstly, because it’s coming out soon after Pada, and also because I could work with the team of Dear Friend with Shyjukka (Shyju Khalid), Sameerkka (Sameer Thahir), Tovino (Thomas), Basil (Joseph) and Darshana (Rajendran). They already have a group of people who have liked their work over the years and it’s always beneficial for me to be part of such a set-up.”

Just like his casting in Pada, the makers had held several auditions for his role in Dear Friend, before he landed the part. “For both the roles, the teams took a lot of time and finally I got through. I knew Sameerkka (who is also the co-producer of Dear Friend) because he was Pada’s cinematographer. One day, I met him in Mumbai by chance. He told me there is a film and if it’s possible for me to give an audition. He said that it wasn’t for him but for the director, who doesn’t know me,” says Arjun.

Everything happened fast after that, he says. “I gave the audition, they confirmed me by the end of August and we started shooting in September in Bengaluru,” he says.

On how the movie’s young cast of Tovino, Basil, Darshana, Arjun Lal and Sanchana Natarajan helped him, he says, “All of us became friends and formed a bond really quickly. You can attribute that to the age group but then what about Shyjukka and Sameerkka? They were also very comfortable to work with.”

Arjun plays Shyam in the film, which is an emotional drama helmed by actor-director Vineeth Kumar and scripted by Suhas, Sharfu and Arjun Lal. “Shyam is the responsible one and trusts people easily. In a group of friends, he’s the guy who pays the bills. He also wants to rebel against his family’s expectations,” Arjun says about his character.

Considering that Rocket Boys had won a lot of acclaim since its release, how was the reception for his role in the Malayalam film Pada that released a month later? “I did get some messages on Instagram, with people saying they didn’t realise I was the same guy from Rocket Boys,” he says. “I did all these projects over the past three years, and it’s just that all of them are releasing in the space of three months. But it feels nice to start off with such good projects early on in your career. Also, all the characters I have played are different – in terms of looks, style and the period they are set in.”

With roles in Hindi and Malayalam, is he striving to straddle both going forward? “Funny thing is that after Rocket Boys, people are asking me if I know Hindi and after Pada, if I know Malayalam. It’s an interesting space to be in. Frankly, I got Pada by chance. But after Dear Friend, I felt like I would like to get more opportunities in Malayalam,” he says.

The actor also tells us that he is now currently working on Christo Tomy’s Ullozhukku, which has Parvathy Thiruvothu and Urvashi in the lead. “That’s my next project in Malayalam. Let’s see how it goes,” he says. On whether being part of both Hindi and Malayalam works to his advantage, he concludes by saying, “I can’t answer that now, because it’s still early days for me.”