If he has the tensions of a first-timer, he doesn't show it. Shravan Saritha Mukesh looks very comfortable on stage, when veterans in Malayalam cinema come to wish him for debuting as an actor. They speak of his parents — much loved actors Saritha and Mukesh, — of his grandfather O. Madhavan, of the many other actors in the family, and ask him to carve his own path. That's what he strives to do, Shravan says, in the few minutes he gets between the many photo shoots at the Symphony Hall of Mascot Hotel, Thiruvananthapuram. Director Rajesh Nair has just launched his film Kalyanam, announcing Shravan and Varsha as his lead pair, calling on others to speak.
Mukesh, in his speech, passes on a wish to Shravan that he once got from the late actor Bahadur. "I hope to know your dad O. Madhavan through you," Bahadur had wished Mukesh, who had then not become an actor but was dreaming to be one. "Today, I say the same thing to you. I want to know your grandfather through you." Saritha too remembers her ex father-in-law, as she wishes her 'Sunny' all the very best. She wanted him to become a doctor, and he did. "As soon as I graduated I showed her the certificate and that smile was enough for me. Now I want to do something that I have wanted for a long time," Shravan says in a quick interview.
He finished his MBBS from the Ras al-Khaimah Medical and Health Sciences University, and had begun teaching there when Rajesh's offer came. The director approached Mukesh first and Mukesh asked Shravan, who was only too eager to act. Obviously it's in his blood, he grew up watching his family work, going to film sets with them, and participating in school plays and cultural activities as much as he could. "I got more appreciation for that than studies," he laughs. But of course he cared for his studies, or he wouldn't be a doc now. That's just on hold on for a bit, while he does this film.
He is also happy about the film he chose. It is a romantic comedy, and the movie tagline very modestly declares it is a cliché. "It is not what a first timer would do, but what an established actor would. So I am lucky. And you heard what Sreenivasan sir said." Sreenivasan, veteran actor and scriptwriter, said he finished the script at one go, and that is saying a lot, since he is known to be someone who speaks his mind. He plays Shravan's dad in the film, and Mukesh plays Varsha's dad! Even as Shravan says he will not imitate anyone in the family, he wishes to follow their example to be simple and down to earth. He readily tells you which of his parents' movies he watches the most — mom's Kathodu Kathoram when he is too cheerful and needs sobering down, and dad's Godfather and In Harihar Nagar, when he needs cheering up.