A self-made actor Sarath Kumar, aka Appani Sarath, draws inspiration from his own sense of conviction. Tell him about the epic scene from the 2007 movie 'Kadha Pareyumbol' that shows superstar Ashok Raj returning to his school, invited as a chief guest, and so did Sarath. His sincerity, avid mind and sensitive heart make Sarath an actor to reckon with.
Ask him about his upcoming movies and he got quite a few in his kitty and yes, he got to say a lot about all of them. And right now, he is most excited to be part of a Tamil web-series titled 'Auto Shankar'.
The tale of terror
The web-series is based on the life of Auto Shankar, one of Tamil Nadu’s most notorious serial killers. “About 60 percent of shoot has been completed which will be more like a biography of Gowri Sankar, born to a Keralite mother and a Tamil father. The series looks at his brief journey as how he became the most wanted criminal of a time. Getting to know about such a character was a new knowledge for me. His body language, his style of talking, the way he used his weapons... everything is unique and we are trying to recreate them all," said Sarath.
Further about Shankar, he said, “There are many people who knows him and has seen him. And they have good opinion about him. It was surprising for me to realise that people who feared hearing his name had only good to say about him. Why and how, we have focused on those aspects in our project.”
Landing the role
“I began my career with a villainous role. But this is the first time that I will be seen portraying a real-life villainous character. That is perhaps the biggest role that I as an actor can get. I know Tamil but the dialect used in this series is quite hard and different from the regular ones. The series is shown in four different periods and for each periods I have different get-ups," he said.
It was the cinematographer of the series Manoj Paramahamsa who referred Sarath after watching 'Anagmaly Diaries' for this role.
“The first-look poster was recently released and I got good feedbacks for the same. While I researched about Shankar, I could get to know only about his laughing style and thinking pattern which I should work on to give a life to this role. As preparation, I had a workshop as well. It was a sheer delight to take up the character which will be released on a platform like Netflix”, he said.
“The Appani Ravi in 'Angamaly Diaries' was wild in nature. He did whatever he wanted. But Auto Shankar will have more mass elements. He was a simple yet unpredictable in nature. And yes, I like doing such negative roles," he said.
Ask him why and he said, “Look around for the criminals in real life. As an outside person we will see only the bad side. But what made them so? They too have a life. And once when you look deeper into their life, you will see a very interesting tale behind each such person. And I love playing characters full of life. While the teaser will be released next month, the series is expected to be launched by December”.
Sarath's maiden Tamil film is 'Sandakozhi 2' with actor Vishal in the lead where he plays a negative character in the movie. He is also on cloud nine after landing a pivotal role in Mani Ratnam’s upcoming Tamil multi-starrer 'Chekka Chivantha Vaanam', which also stars Arvind Swami, Vijay Sethupathi, Simbu, Arun Vijay, Aditi Rao Hydari, Jyothika and Aishwarya Rajesh among others. “It's a very small role. Although minor, I will cherish the project forever. There are just two -three scenes and I have combinations just with Aavind Swami," he said.
Malayalam movie 'Contessa', directed by Sudeep E.S., features Appani Sarath as the lead actor. “It's my first movie as the hero. Like 'Jimikki Kammal', this movie too will see a peppy dance number. Initially the makers had plans to release the song for Onam but with the floods they pushed it," he revealed.
As we talked Sarath beamed with joy for he was blessed with a baby girl on Monday. Sharing happiness on the occasion, he said, “It's sheer delight. I can't explain how it feels to be a father. We named her
Avantika Sarath”. Crediting everything to his little baby, he said, “She has brought me luck. Ever since we got the news of her, I have bagged so many projects both in Tamil and Malayalam”.
Earlier, Sarath had broke down while filming a live video, when he couldn’t connect with his family and his pregnant wife when Kerala was hit by floods.Talking about it, he said, “I could never forget those days.
I was in Madurai during the time for the shoot of 'Sandakozhi 2'. Four days before the floods, I had left my pregnant wife back at her home. After a point, she alerted that the power had went off and mobile phone will be switched off in a while. Later, another person from the family called me telling that she will be affected and hence needed to be shifted. Afterwards I couldn't keep in touch with anyone in any manner. Each time, Iwatched the news sitting at another place, I wasn't sure if my family was safe back home. There was no one to contact and that's when I had to put out a live video.”
“It was after the video that I could know about my family. The biggest lesson that we could learn from those days was we never know who will come to our aid when in trouble. Today, I am a proud father because of those who helped us in those days. I share my happiness with those people," he concluded.