Actor Ramesh Varma, who is noted for playing one of the antagonists in Mammootty’s Big B, and, most recently, his relatable performances in Shyamaprasad’s Oru Njayarazhcha and the acclaimed Run Kalyani, has completed shooting for his new film The 137 Auditions of Avrahaam Yaakob. The film, which is the debut feature of cyber-security entrepreneur and indie filmmaker Anup Narayanan, has Ramesh playing an aspiring actor trying to catch a break.
Elaborating further on the eponymous protagonist, Anup shares, “Avrahaam Yaakob is one of the last remaining Indian Jews in Kochi, Kerala. He is infatuated by the magic of films. Despite his advancing years (he is touching 60), he keeps attending auditions hoping to get a role but never gets through. His friend Nandhan keeps a journal that records all his 137 auditions. Over the years, he goes deeper into each character he is auditioning for. With every audition, he discovers that he is transforming himself into another character, another person.
The purpose of his pursuit gradually changes.” The filmmaker adds that Yaakob’s journey delivers a simple message. “The purpose of a good actor is to become a good human. The realisation dawns on him that it is no longer about winning a part. It is something beyond.” Anup, who hails from Kochi, started independently writing, directing and producing films in 2012 under his own banner OpenCinemas. As of now, he has written and directed six short films along with a handful of ads.
On what drew him to the subject, Anup says he has always been fascinated by actors. “When they perform a role, do they ‘act’ the character, or, do they ‘become’ the character? How does that process impact their life? Is it painful? Is it joy? This film is an attempt to discover answers to these questions.” The film has been officially selected to screen at Tokyo Lift-Off 2020 International Film Festival, Japan. When asked about his release plans, Anup says, “I’m trying to get a distributor. But since this is a film without superstars or stars, it is becoming difficult. As of now, I am submitting it to festivals. I hope I can find a distributor who is willing to support independent films and give a decent theatrical run of at least a week.”