How Prithviraj Sukumaran lost 31 kg in seven months for new film

Aadujeevitham or The Goat Life had the main protagonist, played by the actor, in three different physical forms in different stages of the story

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Published: Wed 10 Apr 2024, 7:38 PM

Last updated: Wed 10 Apr 2024, 7:39 PM

Prithviraj Sukumaran's Aadujeevitham (The Goat Life) is currently on a roll at the box office. The film, directed by Blessy, is based on Benyamin's bestseller 2008 novel of the same name and portrays the actual tale of Najeeb, an immigrant labourer from Kerala who is forced into slavery on a distant goat farm in a Middle Eastern nation.

"I knew as an actor that this was a prerequisite; that to portray the entire character arc, I'd have to go through this drastic physical transformation of losing a lot of weight and looking very emaciated," Sukumaran told Variety. The actor increased his weight to 98kg for the Kerala part of the shoot and for the scenes where he first arrives in the Middle East. The production then paused for seven months while Sukumaran shed 31kg. "I surprised myself and everyone in the film crew, because when I landed up the next time in Jordan, I was almost unrecognisable," Sukumaran said.

The actor did not anticipate Covid-19, which halted the filming immediately after a scene where his emaciated body was revealed, leaving the team stuck in locked-down Jordan for months. They ultimately returned after a year and a half, during which time Sukumaran had to acquire weight to remain healthy.

"But then I had to redo the whole thing. I didn't count on having to do the whole weight loss transformation process two times, which I ended up having to do, because it's a trap. Once you get to that level and you do a portion of the film, then it almost becomes like a thought process in your head. 'No, I can't let it go.’ I put in so much effort. I can't let all that go to waste," Sukumaran said, according to Variety.

"I know a lot of the [media] focus is on the physical transformation, but that is only a small part of the portrayal. At the very beginning, I had thought of the entire arc. And I had told Blessy sir that it was going to be impossible for me as an actor to look at it as one long, singular character," Sukumaran said.

The actor and director divided the character's journey into a timeline of three weeks, three months and three years. "Once we had the idea and the timeline in mind, then it was up to me as an actor to interpret what the mental, emotional journey would be. Which is where we landed on this idea of helplessness, anger, and then coming to terms with the existence," Sukumaran said. The plan is now for The Goat Life to take a shot at the Oscars. ANI


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