“I badly needed this role and I am extremely happy that people have liked it,” Niranj sounds relieved, with accolades coming in from all quarters for his function in Finals, the sports activities drama that has emerged because the darkish horse amongst Onam releases this 12 months. The movie, directed by debutant PR Arun, is racing forward on the box-office and Niranj says he couldn’t have requested for extra.
“Viewers have tagged it the best sports film in Malayalam, although we have had very few sports films in our industry. That means a lot for the whole team. The credit goes to our director who has been nursing the story for over a decade now,” says Niranj, youthful son of actor-producer Maniyanpilla Raju, additionally the producer of Finals.
Twist within the story
The emotionally-charged film zooms into the lifetime of Alice (Rajisha Vijayan), a bicycle owner who eyes a gold on the 2020 Olympics to meet the dream of her father and former coach, Varghese (Suraj Venjaramoodu). Niranj performs Manuel, Alice’s childhood pal, who loves her unconditionally and makes no bones about it. However, mid-way, the narrative goes by way of a twist that sees Manuel taking centre stage.
“What worked in the film’s favour is that it doesn’t move along predictable lines, thus preparing the audience for many twists and surprises. It’s a human-centric film more than being a woman-centric one. Each character has his or her space,” believes Niranj.
Entering into Manuel’s sneakers was not simple, particularly within the scenes the place the character goes for a makeover. “I had to train hard to get that look. For nearly two months, I trained at University Stadium under the supervision of veteran athlete Padmini Thomas. It might look cool on screen, but in reality I had to go through a grueling schedule. People have also appreciated the emotional scenes,” he factors out.
Now the apparent query. Did he make it to the film due to his father? It’s a sure and no. Niranj explains: “That is my sixth movie and I’ve been in search of a stable function to make a mark. After ending my masters, I used to be planning to grow to be an assistant director. That’s when achan instructed this story. We each have been stunned by the script. He’s not somebody who would pull strings to make me a hero. In spite of everything, he had launched me as an anti-hero in Black Butterfly. It’s simply that the script was so good that I didn’t wish to let go of such a superb character,” he says.
Arun, in the meantime, tells us that he didn’t herald Niranj as a result of he’s the producer’s son. “Initially, there were no plans to cast him. I just wanted a new face to play Manuel, because he is the surprise element in the narrative. When Niranj came up as option, I sat down with him for a chat and I was convinced that he would do justice to the character. It was a role that was rejected by many other actors because they didn’t want to play second fiddle to Rajisha’s character,” Arun says.
Niranj is happy that now folks have began taking him severely as an actor. “After putting in so much of effort I was anxious about how things would pan out on screen and whether people would like it,” he admits.
The 26-year-old says that he’s sport for any function that may contribute to the storyline. “I always wanted to be an actor. But the approach to cinema has been different at different stages. Now I am at a juncture where I am willing to do any character that has substance. I don’t want to be in a film just because it has some dance and action,” he explains.
So, how did his father react to his efficiency? “It is difficult to please him. He has been brutally honest about my performances till date and often comes up with harsh criticism. But he is very happy now,” he chuckles.