For cookery show anchor and magic enthusiast Raj Kalesh, acting was not a priority. But, as destiny had it, acting came to him. His first movie was Ustad Hotel, in which he appeared as chef Raj Kalesh and later, he was seen in a small role in Anil Radhakrishnan Menon’s Sapthamashree Thaskaraha. It seems Kalesh has fallen in love with acting after his third movie Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi. “In this movie, I am donning the role of Innappan, a character living inside the forest. I can’t reveal much about the role. But, I can say that I have started loving acting more than before,” he says.
It is Kalesh’s second movie with Anil Radhakrishnan Menon and he narrates how he befriended the director. “I first met him at a function in Ottapalam in which he was honoured for winning the National Award for North 24 Kaatham. I was invited to perform a magic show there. During the show, I jokingly said that I don’t like singers and directors as singers steal the show and no director has ever offered me a role, though I have done many cookery shows. After the function, he told me that when he saw me first, he wanted to cast me in his movie. Since I made this comment, he would offer me a big role,” Kalesh says. But Anil kept his promise and invited Kalesh to do a character in Sapthamashree Thaskaraha.
“During the shooting of Sapthamashree itself he mentioned about this role. He had told me not to cut my hair. Almost one-and-a-half years later, he called me for Lord Livingstone,” adds Kalesh.
The entire shoot was quite memorable. Raj says, “He is a cool director. Whether you are a big or small actor, he will care for you. His mother is also very friendly with everyone. She keeps in touch with everyone on the set. There were many hurdles during the shoot; it was raining and we had to face leech bites. On the way to the location, we could even spot snakes. But, he never allowed anyone to disturb wild animals. He is a true nature-lover.”
Alongside acting, Kalesh is working on a cook book, which will be released on October 11 at the International Book Fair in Thiruvananthapuram. “My book Ruchivattam will have my favourite food combos that I spotted during journeys. Choodu puttu, puzhungiya pazham, and beef roast is one combo. The book will also have descriptions about how I found various combinations.”