Namo has my career-best performance: Jayaram
The actor talks about taking on a challenging role in Vijeesh Mani's upcoming Sanskrit language film
Jayaram is no stranger to makeovers. After his extreme transformations for Swapaanam and Panchavarnathatha, the actor will be once again seen in a different avatar in director Vijeesh Mani’s Namo.
Vijeesh is known for the films Vishwaguru and Netaji, both of which fetched him a place in the Guinness Book of Records — the first for the fastest film produced (script-to-screen) and the second for making the first tribal language film.
Namo, which is in the Sanskrit language, has Jayaram playing the mythological character Kuchelan aka Sudama. For enacting the role, Jayaram lost close to 20 kilos and went for a tonsured look. “It took a lot of effort to get the mannerisms and body language right,” says Jayaram, adding that he had to speak in Sanskrit for the role. “As I was already familiar with all the mantras right from an early age, speaking Sanskrit was not too tough. I not only learned it for filming but also dubbed in it. It was not practical for us to do a film like this in sync sound. There were some Sanskrit experts on the set to correct me in case a particular line didn’t come out right.”
Jayaram feels happy about being part of a film that promotes Sanskrit. He describes Namo as an interpretation of the story of the friendship between Lord Krishna and Kuchelan that explores in depth the latter’s boundless devotion to the former. “The film depicts a time when anyone known to sing praises of Krishna were punished — they were denied food and no home would welcome them. We show Kuchelan’s impoverished condition — his children’s hunger, his wife being unemployed on account of him being a Krishna devotee, and so on. The film is about one man’s journey to meet his idol as per his wife’s request,” the actor reveals.
Namo was shot in various locations such as Varanasi and Kanyakumari by cinematographer S Lokanathan with B Lenin serving as the editor. ‘Bhajan Samraat’ Anup Jalota has composed the music. A host of actors and technicians from different parts of India are part of the film.
Coming off the success of his Telugu film Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo, Jayaram says he is thankful for the doors that opened up for him in Telugu cinema following his impressive Telugu debut in Bhaagamathie.
He is now starring in Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan, the shoot of which is currently underway. The big-budget historical epic boasts a stellar ensemble cast that includes Vikram, Aishwarya Rai, Karthi, Jayaram Ravi, Trisha, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Sarathkumar, and Prabhu.
“It’s a privilege to share the screen with some of the other top stars in South India, but I also find it a privilege to get films like Namo once in a while. Namo, I believe, has my career-best performance,” says Jayaram.