Aju Varghese sounds delighted. He is just back from Savitha Theatre, where his latest movie Lava Kusha is being screened. The response from the audience has charged his spirit. In his humble voice, brimming with excitement, Aju says, “It has been an encouraging response so far. Lava Kusha is not a serious film. It’s a fun entertainer in a thriller mode. There are a lot of moments with situational humour.” The movie sees Aju and Neeraj Madhav, who marks his debut as a scriptwriter with the Gireesh Mano directorial, in the role of two wannabe cops, who become undercover agents.
The story is told against the backdrop of Chennai as the lead duo goes through a lot of comical situations while solving their cases. Wait a minute! Are we talking about the legendary detective duo Dasan and Vijayan, immortalised by Mohanlal and Sreenivasan? Aju laughs, “No, those characters are legends. Ours can’t be compared with them though the genre is somewhat similar. There is friendship, romance, thrilling and funny moments. Also, Lava and Kusha are not the names of the characters; those are the code names used during undercover operations.”
This is Aju’s eighth collaboration with Neeraj, his close friend. Their chemistry in the movie is being hailed much. “I am so happy to work with my friend again, especially in a movie that is a milestone in his life. We share very comfortable vibes. The story has been in his mind for long and he used to discuss it during our previous projects. He did his homework for Lava Kusha for one whole year without committing to any other projects. I hope his dedication and hard work pays off well.” The movie also has on board Biju Menon, who plays JK, an undercover cop and the mentor of the lead duo. Neeraj had got Biju committed to his movie long back.
And Aju is happy to be sharing screen space with him after the super hit movie Rakshadhikari Baiju. Aju and Neeraj have also crooned for a fast number in the movie. The song ‘Ayyappantamma Neyyappam Chuttu’ is already there in the hit charts. “It all just happened. The song is set in Chennai where Neeraj and I become friends from mere strangers.” Aju is in a busy phase. Gearing up for release are his Mohanlal-starrer Villain, best buddy Dhyan Sreenivasan’s scripting debut Goodalochana, Pipein Chuvattile Pranayam with Neeraj again, Manju Warrier-starrer Mohanlal and in Punyalan Agarbathis 2, a reprisal of the lovable Greenu, the sidekick of the ambitious Joy Thakkolkkaran. All the roles aren’t comical ones. “In Pipein Chuvattile Pranayam, I play a journalist; it’s an intense role and a movie that deals with a serious, relevant issue.”
In Punyalan, Greenu is in Dubai; his appearances are all through video conference with Joy played by Jayasurya. Goodalochana set in Calicut is about four friends in their mid 20s going through a stagnant phase — jobless and facing wrath of the family for being ‘irresponsible’. “None of these movies have double meaning, vulgar innuendos or misogynistic dialogues. We have intentionally taken care to make the movies appealing to even kids,” he stresses. Aju is all set to venture into production with Love Action Drama, the directorial debut of Dhyan starring Nivin Pauly and Nayanthara.
On becoming the producer, Aju says, “It’s not me alone. M Star Group and Vishakh are the production partners with me. And the movie will start rolling only next year, after Kayamkulam Kochunni wraps up.” He is currently shooting for Sachin and Hey Jude, in which he plays a cameo. With a lot of things happening, was Aju missing his adorable set of twins back home? He says, “I am home only when there is no shooting. Also, I have enough time. I don’t have many full-length roles; so I have ample time for family.”