About 10 years ago, Spanish theatre artiste Cesar Lorante Raton had won attention of theatre enthusiasts in Kerala through his unique production ‘Draupadi.’ Bringing Kerala’s own kathakali and Spain’s dance form flamenco on the same dais, he directed the play to bring attention to violence against women.
Cesar, who has ever since been fascinated with the art scene in Kerala, is now becoming part of yet another mega project. He is playing an antagonist in the directorial debut of Malayalam actor Mohanlal, Barroz: Guardian of D’Gama’s Treasure. He is just done with the dubbing of the film that is expected to hit screens this year and shares with us the stories on how he became part of the project, the experience of working with Mohanlal, shooting through the COVID years and more.
An unexpected offer
Interestingly, the Spaniard’s first tryst with Malayalam cinema was through the film ‘Spanish Masala.’ He says, “I worked with its casting department and thus, got acquainted with the ad agency Stark Communications too. There on, on and off, I was contacted to help out various personalities coming to Europe.”
Similarly, he was contacted for Barroz team too as scriptwriter Jijo Punnoose wanted someone to help the team out in Europe, remembers Cesar. “While I was working with them, I was once randomly asked by the team whether I wanted to try for one of the roles. I was thrilled and said, why not? That’s how they auditioned me and finally, gave me the part,” says Cesar, who plays a double role in the movie. “I play an antagonist and his ancestor too, in the movie. I don’t know how much things might change on the editing table but I’m thrilled I could showcase these roles in Barroz,” he says.
The movie has many eminent names behind the screens, like Santosh Sivan on cinematography, Lydian Nadhaswaram on music and more.
Teaming up with the megastar
Immense learning is what Cesar remembers, from his days of working with the Malayalam megastar. The actor remembers, “Lal sir is very knowledgeable and despite being a debutant director, he knows well how to get the right output from his actors. Moreover, he is very approachable too.” Cesar recalls that certain acting techniques used here amazed him. “I was asked to act with my eyes alone, at one point. At first, I wondered what that means. But, once I understood how it is implemented in this style of acting, I was quite impressed,” he says. Cesar, who has also been grabbing projects in Bollywood of late, says the opportunities came through his stint with Barroz. “I’m happy I’m getting to work with some big names like Kangana Ranaut, Anushka Sharma, Raveena Tandon, Rajkummar Rao, Kay Kay Menon and more in my Hindi projects. I play minor parts in them but as a passionate actor, I care more about the opportunity than the screen space,” he says.
Working amid the pandemic
Barroz was one of the films which had to be scheduled and rescheduled multiple times due to lockdowns and restrictions due to pandemic. Cesar remembers, “There were many challenges due to the rescheduling. A couple of actors opted out of the film, some of the people fell sick, and it was also tough for us to stay alone far away from home, during COVID. Regardless, I cherish the 4.5 months I got to work on this project. My scenes were mostly shot in Kerala and Goa. Though I can’t reveal much about the thrilling procedure of making this film, I would say it would be a one-of-a kind experience for viewers,” he adds.