When latest Jayaraj film ‘Ottaal’ made headlines a nine year old boy also had his share of joy for being part of the masterpiece film. The central character in the film, eight year old Kuttappayi, a victim of child labour was presented by Ashanth K Sha, a new face in the movie industry.
Through the film Jayaraj was trying a depiction of the famous short story “Vanka” by Russian writer Anton Chekhov. Kuttappayi was a representation of Vanka for some reasons. Ashant was selected through audition to perform the orphan child. Kottayam was the audition centre.
Ashanth’s astute performance as the orphaned ‘duck keeping boy’, who wanted to go to a school but instead gets tricked into forced child labour, put people reach out for their handkerchiefs. Ashanth portrayed Kuttappayi effortlessly.
“The location Kuttanad was totally a strange place to me. Earlier only once I had gone there with my father and mother. My first scene captured in the camera was myself rowing a boat”, Ashanth says.
His father Shabu K. Madhavan is a drama artist. He is active in amateur dramas for 30 years. Ashanth is the member of drama unit in Poonithura Valappikkadavu union, as he is getting training from his father. He is very active in the drama rehearsal camp of his father. His debuted through the drama “Panam Kaykkunna Maram” as ”Madiyan Damu”.
“I had a slight fear to act in the film. But Jayaraj sir, was very co-operative. He used to narrate every scene and teach me the lines. Shooting was for fourteen days and of course I was very happy to see my face on big screen”, he says.
Ashanth became a star in his school. “Got a good opinion from teachers and friends. I had feared to stand in Film Festival stage too to receive the award”, Ashanth innocently smiles.
He is a fourth standard student of Sree Narayana Vidya Peedom Public School. His mother Shanti, is a teacher in Raja Ravi Varma Fine Arts College.
Director Jayaraj has adapted the Russian short story to match the political and social atmosphere of Kerala. The film was honoured in IFFK with the awards like ‘Suvarna Chakoram’, ‘NetPack Fipresci’ award for the best Malayalam film, Viewer’s award for the popular film etc. It has received the National award for the best environmental film too. Kerala Government recognised it through the best film award for 2014.
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