Bengaluru-based actor Aryan Santhosh plays ACP Sanjay Bhat, who investigates Aala, Dileep’s character in the action flick.
Kannada actor Aryan Santhosh has been around for well over a decade, but it is only now that the Bengaluru born and raised Malayali has got an opportunity to venture into the Malayalam film industry. Santhosh, who has roots in Ottapalam, will officially make his Malayalam cinema debut when Bandra, which has Dileep in the lead, releases in theatres on November 10. “It’s a great film to make my Malayalam debut with,” says Santhosh, who is just back from a two-day trip to Kerala, where he was promoting Bandra.
After being a leading man in Kannada cinema, why has he chosen to be a part of an ensemble cast? “I’ve wanted to be a part of an ensemble cast for a while, and Bandra has the perfect blend, including Tamanaah, Sarath Kumar, Dino Morea, Mamta Mohandas, VTV Ganesh, Gautam Rode, Sundar Raj, among many others. I play a north Indian police officer based in Mumbai, who can speak a smattering of Malayalam. Sanjay Bhat, is an ACP entrusted with the responsibility of investigating Aala – Alen Alexander Dominic – the character played by Dileep, during his days of crime in Mumbai. The team has very carefully put together a cast including actors from major industries so that it reaches all markets. See, if you look at actors like Vijay Sethupathi and Fahadh Faasil, or, for that matter, Kannada actors like Shivarajkumar and Sudeep, they all aim to be a part of multi-starrers, irrespective of the scope of the role. The joy is to be a part of an interesting ensemble. I had a mental block about this, which I’ve gotten rid off with Bandra,” explains Santhosh.
The film is yet to hit theatres, but the fact that he is a part of the Dileep-led films has been enough for doors to open for Santhosh within the Malayalam film industry. “I am in talks with another production house for a film led by Mammootty, which looks very positive. These are the kind of movies, which, as an actor, even if you get five minutes, gets you appreciation from al corners. I am very happy that I have one foot firmly in the Malayalam film industry now,” he says. But how did the role in Bandra come to him? “Director Arun Gopy was looking for an actor who looked like a north Indian but could speak Malayalam. He had spoken to fellow filmmaker Roshni Dinaker (of My Story fame), who then called me about the role. I sent Arun a test look, which he liked and the next I know, I was Sanjay Bhat,” adds Santhosh.
The investigation is only one track of the story, the actor tells us, adding that he looked at Bandra as a stepping stone into Malayalam cinema. “I was always told that to be able to do protagonist roles in Malayalam, you need to be seen in films there, which I never had until now. For me, Bandra was not only a great opportunity to work with this stellar cast, but it also gave me an entry into the industry. This role is not larger-than-life; it’s not the kind I have done before. But this is a role in a film that’s on a much bigger canvas. Now, production managers know that there is this actor in Bengaluru. I carry this as my visiting card for industry folk in Malayalam. In fact, doing Bandra has also been beneficial for my next Kannada project, Bhavani Files, which we are not looking at dubbing in Malayalam as well,” says Santhosh.