New Malayalam sitcom, Chakkapazham, has instantly become a hit among TV audience as well as YouTube viewers. The serial is noted for the freshness in its casting which includes television anchors and former TikTok stars. One of them is Arjun Somasekharan, who had gained popularity as a TikTok star.
The actor who is married to the queen of TikTok videos, Sowbhagya Venkitesh, is a talented dancer and a tattoo artist. Excerpts from Arjun's interview with Vanitha Online.
“I am a ‘Trivian’ in the truest sense. You could easily spot the unique Thiruvananthapuram style in my mannerisms and in my accent as well. That is one of the reasons why I was chosen for the role in Chakkapazham. Director Unnikrishnan sir offered me the role after he watched me speak in a few interviews with Sowbhagya after our wedding. He asked me whether I speak like this in real life. When I said yes, he asked me whether I was interested in doing the role. I told him that other than appearing in a few TikTok videos I had no prior experience in acting. However, he gave me confidence and asked me to give it a try. That is how I came into Chakkapazham. I felt alright when I began doing the role. My confidence increased when the audience began appreciating me,” says Arjun.
Dancer and artist
Arjun is passionate about dancing and is a noted tattoo artist too. The actor confesses he had no plans to try his hands in acting. However, he decided to give it try when he actually got the chance. Besides, he had lots of free time as his dance classes got stalled due to the lockdown. Arjun says he didn’t feel strange as he had some experience acting in TikTok videos. Besides, Sowbhagya too had helped him with some tips and tricks. Moreover, he credits the incredible support of the team of Chakkapazham and his dancing skills for helping him play the role perfectly. Arjun thinks his lack of experience in professional acting has actually given him the freedom to improvise.
Won’t say ‘no’ to Sowbhagya
It was Sowbhagya and her mother Tara Kalyan who encouraged Arjun to give it a chance when the offer came his way. Though Sowbhagya and Arjun had decided not to work at different places, the former offered her wholehearted support. “Sowbhagya is actually my first director. In the beginning, when she made me do some Tamil videos in TikTok, I was very shy. But, I don’t like saying ‘no’ to her. That is how I began doing videos. Besides, I was inspired by the great response those videos had garnered,” says Arjun.
Left job to pursue dance
Arjun was born and brought up in Sasthamangalam in Thiruvananthapuram. His parents Somasekharan and Radha were teachers. His elder brother Arun Sekhar is 13 years older to him. He works at the ayurveda college in the city. Arjun began training in dance from childhood onwards. He was Tara Kalyan’s disciple until he completed his under graduation. He had trained in Bharatanatyam under the veteran dancer.
After completing college, Arjun worked at the Techno Park for some time. However, he quit the job when he got bored of it and joined another company. Arjun hadn’t practiced dance for almost 10 years when he had worked at various companies in Techno Park. But, he soon realized that dance was his true calling and decided to pursue it full time. He resumed his practice sessions. It was during that time that Sowbhagya and her mother Tara Kalyan moved to Thiruvananthapuram from Kochi. Arjun rejoined Tara’s classes and began regular practices. In his second innings, Arjun focused more on cinematic dance. It’s been two years since Arjun chose dance as his profession.
“Though I am a Thiruvananthapuram native, there is an interesting story behind it. My father hails from Adoor and my mother is from Kayamkulam. They relocated to Thiruvanathapuram as part of their jobs. So, I imbibed the unique styles of Thiruvananthapuram and Pathanamthitta in the way I speak. But, my friends from both the places began mocking me. So, I decided to stick with the Thiruvananthapuram accent. I purposefully began saying expressions like ‘entirade’. Now, it has become my style and I have decided to stick with it,” notes Arjun.
“I am currently in Kochi filming for the sitcom and Sowbhagya is in Thiruvananthapuram. We are sad that we had to stay apart within a few months after the wedding. However, Sowbhagya cannot join me here right now. We have 8 pet dogs. So, we cannot move in together by abandoning them completely. I am passionate about bikes as well. Sowbhagya and I share many interests including our love for bikes. It is for the first time that I am staying away from Thiruvanathapuram for such a long time,” says Arjun.
The nationwide lockdown was announced a few weeks after Arjun and Sowbhagya’s wedding. So, they had to postpone their honeymoon plans. They had in fact planned to travel to Singapore and the Andamans. The couple, meanwhile, is eagerly waiting for things to get back to normal to enjoy some great trips together.