Giving up a career in Infosys and entering the uncertain world of cinema is not everyone’s cup of tea. But that’s exactly what actor Raj Bharath did, and his genes have played an important role in making the decision. The son of legendary producer and director Malliyam Rajagopal, who made films like Savale Samali, Jeevanamsam, Appa Tata and Kattila Thottila, Raj decided to explore the familiar terrain. Beginning with Sasi’s 555, followed by Onaiyum Aatukuttiyum (OA), he is now part of newbie Jai’s Andhra Mess. Inspired by his late father, Raj says that K Town is the place he wants to be in.
“I had a passion for cinema right from my school days. So, I made a portfolio and met several people from the industry. Luckily for me, the goodwill of my father’s name opened the doors to cinema for me. When I met stalwarts from the industry like Bharathiraja, the late Balu Mahendra and Mani Ratnam, something struck me. They appreciated my portfolio and spoke about my father in glowing terms. That inspired me even further to make a mark in cinema,” he says.
Eventually, director Sasi offered him a role in 555. “I joined when the shoot was already underway and I played the villainous assistant to Sudesh Berry. I jumped at it because it gave me the opportunity to work with a director like Sasi,” says Raj. He’s thankful that he got to work with Mysskin early in his career as well. “I learnt so much from both these directors. I played the role of Thumba, the villain in the wheelchair in OA. Mysskin taught me how to be subtle, emote with my eyes, and give dubbing utmost importance,” recalls the actor.
After playing negative roles, he’s now one of the four main leads in Andhra Mess, a road film about a heist gone wrong, “It’s a complete contrast with a makeover, a new body language and look. The character has several layers and the screenplay and music break every rule in the book,” he says. In his next, he’s the hero of a rom -com directed by his uncle director Ravichandran, who made films like Majunu and Urchagam . Raj is clear about the future, “Negative or positive, I want to do performance driven- roles that have substance,” he says.