Actor Ranjith Sajeev oozes confidence as he takes the stage during the promotional event of 'Mike' and dances to the film's groovy number 'Move Your Body'.
The film, Bollywood actor John Abraham's first production venture in Mollywood, hit theatres on Friday.
Ranjith, who is making his debut in Malayalam with the movie, sits down with Onmanorama to speak about his big break, his co-actor Anaswara Rajan, and why he is so passionate about cinema.
How did 'Mike' happen?
When I was in college, I would shoot monologue videos from movies and post in on my social media. 'Mike's director Vishnu Shivaprasad noticed my work and soon set up a script meeting. I immediately connected with the story and my character Antony. I felt I was ready to do the film.
Did you take any formal acting lessons before this?
Yes, I have attended a few acting workshops during my college days. I have always had a passion for the arts. And from a young age, I wanted to act. I have done a few workshops at the New York Film Academy, Actlab. I have actively participated in all the theatre shows and dance events during my school and college days. All these were my stepping stones.
How was the experience acting opposite 'Super Saranya' star Anaswara Rajan?
We had a lot of fun in the sets. We had to attend an acting workshop before the start of the shoot; that helped break the ice. However, there were a few apprehensions initially because we had to shoot the climax scene first. And that was a little unnerving. The climax is when the actors are at the peak of their emotions. So having to do the toughest part at the beginning of the shoot was not easy on us. However, that went smoothly and gave me the confidence to go ahead with the rest of the shoot. Also, Anaswara is an amazing artist who is very comfortable to work with. You get this back-and-forth vibe with her which makes her a great co-actor.
Songs like 'Move Your Body' in 'Mike' helped display your dancing skills too...
Yes. All credit goes to those who choreographed the dance moves for the film. They crafted them in such a way to suit my body language.
What kind of film is 'Mike'?
It's a story with a socially relevant message. It is also about two characters, Sara and Antony, who are meeting each other at a trying time in their lives. The title is very important to the story. I like Antony because he is not portrayed as a hero. Instead, he is a flawed character and that makes him more human.
Tell us a little bit about your background
I was born and raised in Dubai. I am an engineering graduate. The role came to me immediately after college, so I didn't get a chance to work as an engineer. (laughs)
Your parents are successful entrepreneurs who also produced films. How much of their involvement in cinema has influenced you?
This sense of determination to pursue my passion is something I learned from them. They always tell me to give my 110 per cent, saying I would get 90 per cent of the returns of my hard work. So, that is something I live by.
Do you have a favourite hero in Mollywood? Who would you like to work with in the future?
I respect and admire every artist. About the future, it is all about selecting scripts and characters that I resonate with.