He must have counted the days, 1, 2, 3… 74, 75. On the 75th day, it finally happened. It was he, Sooraj Thelakkad, who'd acted as the robot in the popular film Android Kunjappan Ver 5.25, director Ratheesh Poduval told the world.
“It was not supposed to be revealed immediately, we all kept it under wraps for so long,” says Sooraj, who's now getting a lot of attention after pictures of him in the robot costume were released.
Ratheesh had made the call to Sooraj after watching his comedy programmes on television. “He said I will be playing a robot and I asked if my face will be shown and he said no,” Sooraj says. He doesn't sound dejected by it, now that the revelation has finally been made.
“After a few days of the release, I worried a little if they were not going to reveal it after all. I would ask Ratheesh chettan and Suraj chettan (Suraj Venjaramoodu played the 80-year-old lead character in the film), and they'd say wait a little more,” adds Sooraj.
Sooraj Thelakkad with Suraj Venjaramoodu
Poor Sooraj had to fit into the heavy looking costume an hour earlier so the screws and bolts could be tightened. “I also had to cut down a little weight. I had gained some weight after the costume was fixed,” he says, laughing. It was also really hot and sweaty inside the costume, so he chopped off his hair too.
Sooraj even spoke like a robot. “It was sync sound but then later it was modulated to appear like a mechanical robot’s. But when I spoke my lines, I did it robotically, without betraying any emotion. Except in the climax scene, when I did sound emotional,” Sooraj says.
In the film, Suraj’s character, left alone in his homeland by his son who gets a job abroad, is given a robot to keep him company. Soubin played the son. The old man gets very close to the robot and treats him as another son.
Sooraj with Soubin
Most days, Sooraj would have his food at 6 in the morning and get into the robot costumes by 8, shoot till lunch time, get out of it, and then get in again for the afternoon shooting that went on till 9 in the evening.
“It was worth it. I got so many calls of appreciation after it was revealed that it was me. Especially from the children of my friends!” Sooraj says.
This is the ninth film Sooraj has acted in. He made his debut in Charlie (‘it was only a scene’), then played small roles in movies like Udaharanam Sujatha, Cappuccino, Oru Adaar Love, Ambili and so on. He began doing mimicry as a child of 10, taking after his dad Mohanan who is a mimicry artist.
Sooraj, who hails from Malappuram, did all his studies there. “I have finished my PG now – M.Com,” he adds.