Prithviraj can’t stop counting his ‘Blessy’ings. “ It is the fruition of all the hard work that my director Blessy and I have gone through for fourteen years

“My Face Will Be On The Next Edition Of Aadujeevitham,” Prithviraj Sukumaran Couldn't Have  hoped For More 889468

Playing the real-life abuse survivor Najeeb Muhammed, Malayalam superstar Prithvi Raj’s transformative performance in The Goat Life(Aadujeevitham) has the nation transfixed . Prithviraj internalizes the turmoil of a man thrown into an unimaginably horrific situation, not only for days weeks or months but for years. It is almost as if the actor forgets who he is. He becomes one with the shrunken smothered strangulated parched universe of Najeeb , a man so wronged you wonder, is there any justice left in this universe , especially for the poor?

The praise hasn’t stopped pouring in. But the best moment since release for Prithviraj Sukumaran was when the real-life Najeeb Muhammed saw the film.

“It was like re-living the entire nightmare . He cried. In his tears was my triumph. An actor can’t hope for a better endorsement of his efforts than to have the real character being moved by the actor’s performance,” says the affable Prithvi.

The film has upped the sales of the book .

Says Prithviraj, “We haven’t even shown all of what the author Benyamin has described in his novel Aadujeevitham . Penguin is now planning another edition of the book with my face on the cover.Yes, the whole idea of a literary adaptation is to draw attention to the original work while at the same time providing a new experience.

Prithviraj can’t stop counting his ‘Blessy’ings. “ It is the fruition of all the hard work that my director Blessy and I have gone through for fourteen years. Believe me, that’s how long the project has been with me. We began work on it in 2010. It took us fourteen years to get our story into theatres. If I had my way I would have done only this project until it was completed. But practically that was not possible. We had to go back to Jordan twice to shoot the desert scenes.Once the shooting had to stop because of Covid .We all came back and then we had to go back again. It hasn’t been easy.My director Blessy has been with this project even longer than me.”

Prithviraj went through drastic weight losses, not just once but twice. “I had to do it twice because of the disruption in the shooting schedules. To begin with, I had to put on a lot of weight to look how Najib looked when he first arrives in Saudi Arabia.Then I had to lose around 30 kgs twice to look how he looked later.My sugar levels were seriously disturbed. It was quite difficult. I don’t think I would be able to do this again.”

Now Prithviraj looks forward to his next release Chote Miyan Bade Miyan where he plays the main antagonist. Strangely he is masked for half the film.

Says Prithviraj, “Only till intermission. There is a reason why my character keeps his face covered in Bade Miyan Chote Miyan.Please wait for the film, I may surprise you again.”

Finally I ask the extraordinary actor what places Malayalam cinema so ahead of the rest of Indian cinema? “I guess it is the stress on the writing. Do you kno, till today it is the norm for writers to approach an actor for a role in Malayalam cinema , not the producers or directors.”

About The Author
Subhash K Jha

Subhash K. Jha is a veteran Indian film critic, journalist based in Patna, Bihar. He is currently film critic with leading daily The Times of India, Firstpost, Deccan chronicle and DNA News, besides TV channels Zee News and News18 India.