Meet Nitin Thomas, the newcomer who impressed as Pakkan Biju in 'Aaha'

Image Credit: Special Arrangement/Manorama Online

Aaha starring Indrajith in the lead role narrates the thrilling tale of vadamvali (tug of war), a local sport that is incredibly popular in the countrysides of Kerala. Actor Nitin Thomas who played the seventh man in the 'vadam vali team', in the flashback scenes, is elated that his character has been noticed in the movie. In the film, Nitin’s character Pakkan Biju is also the team driver who drives his jeep, quite adventurously, through the treacherous roads of the high range. He too grabbed attention in the scenes where veteran artists like Indrajith and Manoj K Jayan delivered fabulous performances. In a candid chat with Manorama Online, Nitin Thomas talks about his journey as an actor and expresses happiness about the success of the movie.

Friend’s movie
Aaha’s director Bibin Paul Samuel is Nitin’s close friend. The duo studied together at the Media Village in Changanassery. Bibin was a student of multimedia while Nitin studied animation. “I had contacted Bibin when I learned that he was doing a movie. However, he didn’t tell me anything then. He was busy casting for the movie. Bibin then asked me to meet him at the workshop that was being held for the cast members. That is how I became part of Aaha. Little Master released in 2012 is my first movie. After that, I did a Tamil movie titled Nishabd in 2017. The first two movies that I acted in weren’t noticed. It was in Aaha that I got a good role,” says Nitin.

Painful’ memory
“Aaha is a sports drama that would be loved by anyone who enjoys vadamvali. The movie also narrates a beautiful tale of amazing family relationships. We shot in many locations around Erattupetta, Pala, Kottayam and Ettumanoor. The songs composed by Sayanora are a blend of local beats and rap. The cinematography by Rahuldeep is fabulous,” notes the actor.

Nitin says that vadamvali is not an easy game. The cast had spent almost two months perfecting the moves and postures of the game. Roy Neeloor, who is a celebrated vadamvali athlete of the Aaha Neeloor team was roped in to train the cast members. Besides, another trainer Arun from Perumbavoor was also involved in the training process.

“Vadamvali is a difficult game. We really played it while filming the scenes. Apart from the actors, everyone else was real athlete. Even two years after the filming, I still have the scratch marks on the body that I got while holding the rope,” says Nitin.

The driver
In the movie, Nitin’s character is Indrajith’s best friend. Meanwhile, Manoj K Jayan plays the Aasan or the coach of the 'vadam vali' team. Interestingly, Nithin’s character appears in the flashback scenes. The seventh man in the team is usually considered the main anchor who steers the movement of the team. He has to wrap the rope around his body as he is the last man.

The team would lose if the seventh man loses his grip. Nithin had played the role of the seventh man in the team. His character Pakkan Biju is also the driver who takes the team to various venues in his jeep.

“The movie was shot in the high range. I was supposed to drive a four-wheeler jeep. Manoj sits next to me while Indrajith is right behind me. When I was about to start the jeep, Indrajith asked who was driving. The roads were narrow and difficult. I told him I was driving and he said ok. I was a bit tense as their lives were in my hands. However, things went well when we filmed the shot. I asked Indrajith whether I did alright and he said yes. That scene had boosted my confidence.

I am glad that I didn’t make the artists who sat in that jeep uncomfortable. Babin had chosen his actors, including me, really carefully. I believe that I have done justice to my character. I am grateful to him for giving me a good role in his film. Moreover, I am grateful to Aaha’s producer Prem Abraham and my family too,” notes the actor.

The experience
Nitin says that Aaha was an amazing experience for a new actor like him. On the first day, he acted alongside actors like Indrajith and Manoj K Jayan in a crucial boar hunting scene. He recalls that the entire set brimmed with energy when Manoj was on the sets. He calls the actor extremely energetic who tries to inspire everyone on the sets with positive vibes.

Nithin says that Manoj used to entertain the crew members by narrating interesting incidents and jokes from the cinema locations. Nithin is glad that he could share screen space with Manoj in a movie titled Salute too. “Indrajith was really friendly. They are experienced actors and were nice to the newcomers on the sets. I showed him a short film that I did. It was he who released the short film. He appreciated my performance. Everyone was really supportive,” Nitin can’t hide his happiness.

Following the passion
After completing his studies, Nitin had worked in a few magazines as a designer. He had also worked in a company that designs mobile apps. Besides, he had done online promotion works of movies too. Nitin was the winner of the online contest that Manorama Online had organised in 2013, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Indian cinema. Director Lal Jose was the judge of the contest. Nitin then went on to act in a few movies and short films. Now, the young actor wishes to pursue acting full time and hopes to essay some incredible roles on the big screen.

Dream roles
Nitin confesses that he hadn’t tried to pursue cinema even though he had loved acting as a young boy. In his childhood, he didn’t even act in a school play. “My life experiences taught me that we can achieve our dream only if we constantly strive for it. I got interested in acting when I essayed minor roles in two projects that we did as part of our course. I confessed about my love for acting to an ad film maker, who is also a close friend, during the end of my course. He then asked me why I had kept it a secret for three years. After that, I acted in a few ad films and short movies. I even directed one or two short films. I am hopeful about my character in Aaha. I wish to continue as an actor. I am eagerly waiting for good roles,” Nitin is hopeful.

Nitin hails from North Paravur. His parents and siblings are there. Meanwhile, Nitin is settled in Cheranelloor with his wife Annie Sophia and their kid Nyle. His wife is a software engineer. Nithin credits his wife for supporting his acting dreams. He, however, says that his parents were sceptical in the beginning. But, now, they too are happy. Nithin is thrilled when he says that the entire family had watched the movie together.

New projects
After Aaha, Nitin played a small role in Salute. He acted with Dulquer Salmaan in a scene in that movie. He also essayed the main role in a small movie called Jameelante Poovan Kozhi. Nitin says that discussions of new projects are underway.  

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