Two years without school for shoot

Achuthan, who trained in kalaripayattu, makes his debut in the big-budget Malayalam film ‘Mamangam’

Achuthan in 'Mamangam'

This week’s Malayalam release ‘Mamamgan’ stars a young warrior, Chanthunni, played by Achuthan. He’s the youngest actor in the big-budget film which has Mammootty as the lead actor.  Trained in Kalaripayattu from the age of five, the child artiste who does several action scenes in the movie, found the sequences easy to do.
 Achuthan talks to Showtime  about working in the film and how he managed school life with his acting career.

When did you start shooting?
I auditioned for the role two years ago during my summer holidays when I was in fourth standard. The crew was in touch with kalari institutes in Kerala and auditioned me through Jai Sankar KJV Kalari in Kottayam, where I am being trained.

How tough were the fight sequences?
Since I have been training in martial arts from a young age, it was not that hard. I was trained on how to handle the ‘urumi’ (a sword with a flexible whip-like blade) and the ‘vaalu’ (sword) for the film, as weapon training starts only after a certain age. Though I was initially nervous, I soon became comfortable.
Apart from physical training, I also had to gain weight and have long hair for the role. As this is my first film, director Padmakumar, groomed me for the role. He guided me during each scene.

What got you interested in Kalaripayattu?
None of my family members are trained in martial arts. My father encouraged me to join the classes for physical and mental fitness.

How did you manage your studies in the last two years?
I stayed with the crew and did not attend school during the time. I wrote the final exams and I am in the sixth standard now. Whenever I would be on a break 
from shooting, my mother would help me pick up on the lessons. My school management and my family were extremely supportive.

If you had to sum up the last two years of your life...
It was be a period where I learnt a lot. I got to meet a lot of people and learn about the film industry.

How similar to your character, Chanthunni, are you?
Chanthunni was a bold person but I don’t talk much. He is an experienced and trained Kalari artiste, whereas, I have a long way to go. The age is our only similarity.

How was it to work with Mammootty? Are you a fan?
I was happy when I heard that I will be working with Mammootty. When we started working together, I got a chance to meet the great person and the big personality that he is. Even though most movie buffs like most top actors, he is not my only favourite actor. I do like his films though.

Who was your favourite from the sets then?
Prachi (Tehlan) madam and I share a close bond. As she’s a sportsperson, she too has a background of going through intensive physical training. Both she and I made our debut in this film.

What are your next plans?
I want to continue acting in films but nothing has been offered yet.

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