MeenAviyal Magic – Arun Kurian In A New Avatar!

The web series that received 1 million views features Archana Kavi, Arun Kurian and Vaishnavi Venugopal!

The audience adored him as the angry young man in Aanandam. He was seen next alongside Megastar Mohanlal in Velipadinte Pusthakam and then after a break with Mollywood’s youth icon, Dulquer Salman in Oru Yemandan Premakatha. But his humorous avatar in the webseries, Meen Aviyal, is what surprised everyone. Ritz catches up with one of the most promising young talents of Mollywood today, Arun Kurian!

Interview: Riya Sonny Datson

Photography: Nitheesh Ayyod

How did you start your journey in Cinema?

I was working in Mumbai as an Assistant director when I heard that cameraman Anend C Chandran was making a movie. I contacted him hoping to assist him in direction as I wanted to try my luck in Malayalam Cinema. Little did I know that he was handling the cinematography for a film that is to be directed by Ganesh Raj, who was Vineeth Sreenivasan’s assistant. To my pleasant surprise, he asked me if I would like to act and asked me to send my pictures as they were looking for a college boy in the age group of 19 -22. Acting was always my ultimate dream and I can’t tell you how happy I was to have got the opportunity. I sent my pictures, auditioned and eventually, I bagged the role in Anandam.

Aanandam had a set of completely new actors and it went on to become a hit. Did you expect such a positive response?

No, of course not. In fact, we didn’t realise it was a hit until almost after a year. It continues to be a movie that is screened on television atleast twice a month and people continue to message me, Roshan and Vishakh after watching it. It is still very popular. Since it was my first movie as an actor, I was very camera conscious and I had to work really hard. But it is very heartening to know that even now, people continue to recognise me as ‘Varun’ of ‘Aanandam’. It will always be very special to me.

Without any background in Cinema, is it challenging to survive in the industry?

Over a period of 3 years, I have done only five movies in all. I know it was a huge risk but I have had my reservations about blindly taking up roles because I wanted to be a part of good movies; movies that I would want to watch as an audience. Having a background or a Godfather in Cinema definitely helps as you have better chances of getting noticed by a film maker. When you are new to the industry, networking is extremely important but being an introvert, it has not always been easy for me to take that plunge.  Though it was a struggle for me to get a break initially, I personally feel that after ‘Aanandam’ and ‘Angamaly Diaries’, the industry is more open to trying out projects with new actors. But today, even if you have a lot of opportunities to get into the industry, surviving is not easy as there is a lot of competition. The fact that my first movie did well also built a lot of pressure. Unless you reach a point where you are a super star, I don’t think an actor ever feels secure about his or her future.

You have had the opportunity to work with a legend like Mohanlal and a youth icon like DQ, how was the experience working with each of them?

I am a crazy fan of Lalettan and I never ever dreamt that I would have an opportunity to act, let alone with him. I think I am very blessed and that the world has been very nice to me. I was extremely happy to have had the opportunity to work with him. The fact that he knows me now is like a dream come true. He has such a positive aura around him that its almost magical.  Working with DQ was equally a blessing but it was a very different experience. He is really very sweet and is like a brother to me, always ready to help. I share a very personal bond with him. During our shoot, when I casually showed him the poster of our play, ‘A very normal family’, I was taken aback when he offered to share it. He launched the ‘Meen Aviyal’ trailer for us. It was awesome to have had the opportunity to work with both of them and I really hope to work with DQ again.

Your avatar in Meen Aviyal was a pleasant surprise. The audience got to see a completely new version of you and it has been received so well.

Yes, I remember telling Ganesh that ‘I don’t know how the output is going to turnout but I am extremely happy and confident about my role in Meen Aviyal’. I am usually very tensed when I am working for a feature but this was like a breeze. I really got to lot to play around a lot with the character and do a lot of spot improvisations. We never expected that it would get such a good response and we are overwhelmed by the way it has been accepted. It was great to play a light hearted comedy. I have been waiting to do such a role for a very long time. The fact that each episode was simple and short really gave it an edge.

One thing you like most about the webseries.

The team! It was a great working with Arun Dominic, Abhishek Nair, Archana Kavi and the entire group as each of them were really talented and passionate. It was very comfortable and there was no pressure at all. We worked on a trial and error basis as there was a lot of scope for performance. We made a lot of new friends and I would really like to do a feature film with the team.

There is a lot of competition in the film industry today, amidst the pressure, what keeps you ticking?

I think as Paulo Coelho said, ‘when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it’. When I see a good film or my favourite actors perform, it gives me a lot of hope and belief that things will work out eventually. I feel that hope is all that you need to keep going.

What is in the pipeline?

I am currently working on a film with Santy Balachandran, Vinay Fort and Tini Tom called ‘Paapam cheyythavar kalleriyatte’. Talks are on for other projects but I can’t reveal any further details right now.

Can we expect a Meen Aviyal Season 2 ?

I am really looking forward to it!

Rapid Fire:

  • Arun in 3 words: Funny, Romantic, Sensible
  • I can’t do without: Friends
  • I love: Football, Cinema
  • Relationship Status: Single
  • If not Cinema: ‘GELF’!
  • My idol: My father
  • I crave for: Work with my favourite film makers
  • Interests: Football
  • A Dream role: Sid from ‘Wake up Sid’ and ‘Lalu’ from Second show
  • Dream holiday: Sweden!