The official poster of Ranam-Detroit Crossing.
Though he is only two films old, Ashwin Kumar has successfully managed to find a place in the hearts of South Indian moviegoers. The Dubai-based actor has proved himself to be a noteworthy performer with his memorable turns in Vineeth Sreenivasan's Jacobinte Swargarajyam and Karthick Naren's Dhuruvangal 16. He will be next seen in Nirmal Sahadev's Ranam, which comes out in Kerala today. In the film, Ashwin plays Selvan, the younger brother of Rahman's character Damodaran.
"The two brothers run a business together and Prithvi's character Aadhi works with them. Aadhi takes risks doing dangerous jobs for them, like being a getaway driver, for example. It's a film about survival and the ties between these characters. Every character has their own point-of-view about things and their own ways to survive," says Ashwin.
When asked if he has any concerns about being typecast, Ashwin says that a beginner like him doesn't have the privilege of choice. But he has no complaints. "I feel extremely lucky to have worked with names like Nivin Pauly, Prithviraj and Rahman. Right now I'm grabbing every opportunity that comes my way and do full justice to a role, be it negative or positive. I focus on doing these roles sincerely and want to be remembered for doing them well."
Ashwin adds that he not only enjoys acting but also being on set observing every other part of the filmmaking process. "On Ranam, when my portions were not being filmed, I would go on set and be like a ghost assistant director. Sometimes I would be giving suggestions and tips to Nirmal; and if they make any sense, he is sweet enough to accept them. Nirmal is a very rational guy and I think that's one of the reasons why he and Prithviraj got along so well."
Ashwin has nothing but praise for the leading man whom he calls a straightforward person. "Prithviraj has the mind of a filmmaker in addition to an actor's. I would describe him as a sensible filmmaker/actor. He may be a big star to the public but he doesn't carry himself like one. He will do anything to make a film look good. He'll put aside his star status and accept the smallest of suggestions which would help the film. He was very generous towards me; he never hesitates to teach you something or take an input," recalls Ashwin fondly.
Ashwin tells us he is in awe of young filmmakers like Nirmal and Karthick. "They both have their own distinct styles of filmmaking. But the one common thing between them is that they both have a clear idea of what they want and what they are doing. They are very open to inputs. If they are already going along a specific track and realise that something can further enhance their ideas, they'll use it. They get the best out of their actors and technicians. Everyone is operating at their peak levels when working under them. This can be very motivating for everyone involved. We are all on the same page.
There is no miscommunication. Every department comes together to work as a single organism," notes Ashwin. For Ashwin, working in Ranam felt like a Dhuruvangal 16 reunion as the editor Sreejith Sarang, music director Jakes Bejoy, and actor Rahman have all worked in D16 as well.
Ashwin is also slated to appear in Gautham Menon's upcoming film Ennai Nokki Paayum Thotta, which recently wrapped up filming.
Though ENPT took two years to finish, Ashwin thinks highly of Gautham Menon. Didn't the delay bother him? "See, everyone's working style is different. Some people take much longer to finish their work. I get that. We all have our frustrations and worries. I'm also a family man, and at times, a big chunk of my time with them is lost while working on a project like this.
But you have to be very patient about these things, and when you see how good everything has turned out, you don't think about all the pain you went through. It's all about the final result. That is what cinema essentially is. And Gautham is, just like Prithviraj and Nivin, a big brand and I feel lucky to have been part of one of his films. The fact that everyone is ready to work for him whenever he calls is a testament to the fact that he is someone you can't afford to miss working with in your career."