Vipin Atlee, director of Ben, says he penned the script of the movie keeping in mind the little prodigy Gaurav Menon. “I knew him on the sets of Homely Meals and knew that only he could do the role of the protagonist Ben so convincingly. The role was so intense and wasn’t a cakewalk. I knew this would win him an award,” says Atlee.
Elated to receive National Award for the role, Gaurav, fondly called Krishnanunni, agrees. In words that are far mature beyond his age, Gaurav says the role was indeed very taxing. “It was a tough role to play. I did put a lot of effort and it is very exciting that I got both the State Film and National Film Awards for the role,” says Gaurav, a student of St Aloysious Convent, Palluruthy, in Kochi.
The award has left him a bit busy too. “People are calling and congratulating me for the role. My teachers and friends too have been congratulating me. I am so happy,” says the child actor. Gaurav began acting at a tender age after winning the auditions for the movie Philips and The Monkeypen. Ever since, he has been doing big and small roles until Anoop Kannan’s Vipin Atlee-starrer Homely Meals happened.
“Vipin had discussed with him the story of Ben. In fact, Gaurav was deep into the role because Vipin had told him about it. Even then, it was tad too heavy a character for a youngster. But, Gaurav is maturated when it comes to acting,” says his mother Jaya Menon. She recounts how he had to lose weight for the character.
“Gaurav, during the shoot of Ben had just wrapped up Jilebi and he had to shed weight. So, he was avoiding chocolates and doing a lot of cycling and so as his mother, I felt a bit sad seeing his struggle. This is why the award makes us so happy,” says Jaya. Gaurav is now acting in Kolumittay, a children’s movie. “Kolumittay is a great movie which invokes nostalgia. He will be seen with a gang of three other boys and it has got a good story,” says Jaya Menon.