Actor Roshan Mathew says working in the Hindi film “Darlings” offered him an opportunity to shake things up and get out of the comfort zone that he had settled into the Malayalam cinema industry.
Mathew, known to star in films like the 2019 Malayalam drama “Moothon”, romantic-drama “Kappela” (2020) and the recently released action thriller “Kuruthi”, features in “Darlings” alongside Alia Bhatt, Shefali Shah and Vijay Varma.
While the actor said it was too early to reveal details about his character in the Shah Rukh Khan-backed film, Mathew said the project was different from anything he had done before.
“Alia, Vijay and Shefali are such incredible actors. It was a fantastic experience working on the film. For me, a lot of things about the project have been different from everything I have done so far. ‘Darlings’ for me was about getting out of a comfort zone that I was in,” Mathew said
The actor, who made his Bollywood debut in 2020 with Anurag Kashyap’s “Choked”, completed “Darlings” last month.
Mathew said unlike the functioning of a Malayam movie set, which he had become almost too comfortable with, working on “Darlings” brought with it a creative chaos that he was craving for.
“In the Malayalam industry, there is a certain environment on set and a certain way most movies are made. I was also beginning to really sit back and relax. This one has been a jarringly different experience. It has thrown me off majorly, I have tripped, fallen, and have struggled but at the end of the day, I can still sleep peacefully because I feel that is what I should be getting out of this film,” he added.
Mounted against the backdrop of a conservative lower middle-class neighbourhood, the film traces the lives of two women as they find courage and love in exceptional circumstances. “Darlings” marks the directorial debut of writer Jasmeet K Reen.
He isn’t new to working on a Hindi film set, but the actor notes how the conversation around Malayalam cinema in Bollywood has grown today.
The actor started his journey in theatre in Chennai and moved to Mumbai in 2014 to enroll in an acting and theatre course.
Mathew said there was little to no awareness regarding Malayalam cinema till early 2017 among the Hindi cinema industry people, but it has changed completely with the boom of several OTT platforms.
“OTT has made our cinema pan-India. I was in Mumbai from 2014 till early 2017 and back then, nine out of ten people I spoke to could not differentiate between Malayam and Tamil film industries. Now, when I shot a film here, almost everyone I spoke to knew Malayalam cinema.
“They knew the names of the films, the actors. I can speak about Malayalam films that have come out in the last few years comfortably here. That has got to do a lot with OTT platforms,” he said.
The 29-year-old actor said he is amused when people from the Hindi film industry compliment him for the work happening in the Malayalam industry.
“There have been times where I have felt that I am taking credit for someone else’s work because I had nothing to do with that project. I watched it on the TV just like everyone else, but it also feels nice. That makes me feel that I come from a particular family.
“When I go back now and start my next film in Malayalam after all that I heard in Mumbai, I will feel, ‘Ok, I am making a film here, at my home.’ You actually feel more part of the Malayalam industry when you are being spoken to about it by someone else than when you are in the industry,” he added.