South stars: Living the dream in film Persiakaran

Two Dubai-based talents make their big-screen acting debut in Persiakaran, shot in the UAE, Deepa Gauri writes

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Published: Thu 20 Feb 2014, 10:54 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 5:12 PM


CHOOSE A JOB YOU love to do and you will never have to work a day in your life,’ is a quote attributed to Confucius. While not everyone has the luxury to do so, a few indeed dare to chase their dreams and take the path less explored.

That might mean having to chuck away cushy jobs and adhering to one’s passion with a vengeance. That might mean not having the steady monthly income from a 9 to 5 job that would have come to them easily. That might also mean that someday soon, they will get to live their dreams.

While it is early to label them as ‘film stars,’ two youngsters born and brought up in Dubai have found their aspirations come true by following their heart.

Adil Ibrahim

Indeed, there are a number of commonalities to Adil Ibrahim and Sudhakshina Shivkumar, the lead actors of Persiakaran, a bilingual in Malayalam and Tamil, shot almost entirely in the UAE. They both are multi-faceted, acted earlier in just one short film and enjoyed their fair share of limelight on TV.

While Adil is a Chemical Engineering graduate from BITS Pilani, Dubai, Sudhakshina has just graduated in Business Administration from Manipal University Dubai.

Adil went on to work in Scotland and Africa in oil rigs, and realising it wasn’t what he should be doing in life, left the job and ventured into presenting TV shows and being an RJ in Dubai. He has now launched his own full-service media company, offering branding and marketing solutions including TV commercial production and event management.

An accomplished Bharatanatyam dancer, Sudhakshina meanwhile was riding high, performing with Salman Khan in Dubai and winning the Boogie Woogie dance competition on Sony TV, going on to represent the UAE in the mega-finals held in the UK. She has now moved on to another of her passions – cooking – and is working as trainee chef at the International Centre for Culinary Arts in Dubai, and has plans to open a unique concept restaurant in India.

Their common factors extend beyond their exuberant outlook towards life, a confidence in their abilities and sheer joviality. Both are unwaveringly focused on earning fame and respect – not as an ego-boost but as a recognition for their talent. They also have the abundant support of their families, who stand rock-solid behind their youngsters’ journey to discovering their inner calling.

Adil’s parents - Ibrahim Nalakath, a business advisor, and Sabira - extended unconditional support even when the youngster decided to pursue a career in media, far removed from what he studied. The daughter of logistics entrepreneur Shivkumar and Shyamala, who herself used to be an RJ/VJ, Sudhakshina has been dancing since the age of three. Art has been a priority for the family all along.

Persiakaran, the story of three generations of expatriate Indians, directed by award-winning filmmaker Ashok R. Nath, has provided a strong platform for Adil and Sudhakshina to prove their mettle, both of them selected after a stringent audition conducted in Dubai.

Describing herself as a jovial person and a ‘very Dubai’ girl, Sudhakshina says that having performed earlier on stage and for TV helped her overcome any apprehension while facing the camera. “Bharatanatyam also helped, as the dance form is all about emoting through one’s eyes and expressions.”

She plays Aparana, a character with different shades, and a challenging one, indeed, for a newcomer. “There was an easy rapport among all of us on the sets, and that helped tremendously,” she says.

Every scene was shot twice, first in Malayalam and then in Tamil. The latter came naturally to Sudhakshina, who is originally from Tamil Nadu, and knows basic Malayalam.

Adil’s experience in acting was limited to doing a short film, and attending an acting workshop. “I play Aravind, an RJ, something I have been in real life, and there was a sense of déjà vu as I sat at the very same console at Radio Me where I once worked. I left the radio to be an actor, and here I was back at the station, as an actor.”

Incidentally, another talent to look out for in the film is Ranjith Melepatt, who composes the music for the film, and has to his credit the signature tune of RadioMe, a vibrant young radio station. Now back in Kerala, Ranjith was instrumental in pushing Adil to take part in the audition.

Adil says acting in the film was a whole new learning. “There are several aspects that we are not aware of as newcomers, especially the body language and the attention to be given to camera angles.”

Mukesh and Kochupreman, the seasoned actors who were part of the cast, stood as pillars of support, encouraging the youngsters to improve on the performance and giving timely tips that came in handy as days went by through the nearly 45-day shoot.

Adil and Sudhakshina feel privileged to have been part of the film by Ashok Nath, an avant-garde filmmaker, thus, giving them a real opportunity to shine through as actors. For Sudhakshina, the biggest expectation from the film is that audiences will recognise her for her talent. “It is not about glamour and stardom; I would really love to be noticed for my performance.”

Adil is setting low expectations for himself, as he says, “watching the scenes at the dubbing theatre, I was telling myself: ‘Dude, you have to work on that one.’”

But having given his heart and soul to the role and with a few new offers on cards, his wish is to do some good roles in film and prove his credentials as an actor.

Ultimately, while the film is a wish-fulfillment for Adil and Sudhakshina, acting in Persiakaran wasn’t work for either; it was doing what they loved, an accomplishment to cherish, and a stepping stone to potentially bigger things to come.

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