Indrajith: Portraying a bad actor in Halal Love Story was not easy
The actor talks about working with director Zakariya, why communication is essential for him, acting with Prithviraj again, and upcoming projects
Since Indrajith plays an actor in Halal Love Story, one would presume it would be easy for him. But he shares that it was still challenging because his character, Shereef, is a 'bad actor'. However, he was excited by the idea nonetheless. “It would probably be the last option among many roles for most actors,” explains Indrajith. “Normally, you work hard to make a character good, but that was not the case here. It was about portraying him as bad as one can. And there was that confusion as to how much he can perform and to what extent he could go. It shouldn’t be artificial, and at the same time, had to look naturally bad. But we managed to crack it through multiple discussions and picking the right takes.”
Halal Love Story is, in a way, a Virus reunion of sorts, as Indrajith got to work with some of the same cast members in this film as well. Halal director Zakariya had a pivotal role in Virus, and the two, along with co-writer Muhsin Parari, got to build a rapport on its sets. “With collaborators like that, there is always the freedom to discuss and improvise. For Halal, it required a lot of discussions to nail the Malabar slang which I’m not familiar with,” says Indrajith.
About his standout performance in Virus, Indrajith says he channelled his childhood friend, a real-life doctor named Gopakumar. But how does he prepare for a character when there are no real-life references? “My basic preparation is communication,” he shares. “I make sure that there is a lot of talking with the director and writer before going to the sets. I see myself as a director’s/writer’s actor, and I want to give the best I can. Once I get a clear picture of the character from them, I can then concentrate on the last-minute improvisation. I’m very comfortable with people who communicate a lot.”
Indrajith has already proved his versatility on numerous occasions. Some of the serious roles he played, most notably in Left Right Left and Amen, have a small undercurrent of humour. Asked if he tries to incorporate humour into these characters, he says it’s all based on the instructions given by the filmmaker. “Take Amen, for instance. It was completely Lijo Jose Pellissery’s film. He was very particular about his characters. You know, this reminds me of an incident. On the day of shooting, Lijo came to me and said I’m playing the ‘punyalan’, which suddenly got me wondering if I’ve been approaching the character the right way until that point. Lijo has an interesting approach when it comes to actors. We share a great bond. Even with Left Right Left, I talked a lot to Murali Gopy. And even for the character Govindan in Lucifer, I sought a lot of inputs from Prithvi. He used to tell me exactly how he wanted that character to talk and behave.”
Speaking of sharing the screen space with Prithviraj again, Indrajith says the brothers will be seen together in Irshad Parari's Ayalvaashi, a light-hearted family drama. But he is not sure when the shoot is going to start as the film has a few sequences that require a big crowd. “It is most likely to begin next year,” he adds. There seems to be much promise in the film as Indrajith believes it will showcase a version of him and Prithviraj that no one has ever seen before. “It’s an interesting subject with enough space to explore ourselves as actors or in terms of the subject.”
Indrajith and Prithviraj were earlier supposed to come together for a Srinath Rajendran directorial, but the plan was dropped due to various difficulties. However, Indrajith got to work with Srinath in Kurup, a big-budget chronicle of the elusive criminal Sukumara Kurup. The film was shot over a year in multiple locations, including the UAE. Dulquer Salmaan essays the titular role, while Indrajith plays a police officer in pursuit of the case. He informs us that though the film is complete, it is best suited for a big-screen experience.
The same goes for Thuramukham, Rajeev Ravi’s big-budget period drama in which Indrajith stars alongside Nivin Pauly, Biju Menon, Joju George, and Nimisha Sajayan. Besides, he also has a sports drama named Aaha and Jeethu Joseph’s Raam (opposite Mohanlal) in the pipeline.
Like Prithviraj, Indrajith is also planning to turn director and producer someday. He is working towards that goal, but doesn’t want to announce it at the moment.
For Indrajith, the past few months were all about spending plenty of quality time with his children. He is making up for all the time he lost in the previous year due to his hectic schedules. Have his kids inherited their father’s taste in cinema? “Not really. They have their individual takes on cinema and music. But there are times when we get together to watch something of common interest. In the last few months, there were some conflicts regarding what to watch on OTT,” he laughs.