Most actors have that unexpected moment or incident that changed the course of their life from anonymity to fame. For Juby Ninan, who will be seen in the upcoming Sachin and Mammootty-starrer Parole, it came as an FM radio announcement!
He was just another businessman in Dubai when his friends called up hearing about an audition call on the radio. “I have done modelling and had an interest in acting, but I had never thought of a movie career. When my friends persuaded me to attend the audition, I thought of giving it a try. Luckily, from among the 500-odd attendees, I was selected along with four others,” he recalls.
It was back in 2013. The movie, Persiakkaran, starring Adil Ibrahim and Mukesh, didn’t fare well, but Juby got other offers – Smart Boys and Aadu Thoma; the first one went unnoticed and the second one failed to hit the screens. In between, he did two Tamil movies; both met the same fate. He, with his friend Jude Angel Sudheer, then stepped into production under the banner JJ Production with Shine Tom Chacko-starrer Dum, in which he played a full-length role. Again, the movie couldn’t make an impact. But Juby was an optimist; he knew he had to fight and make it there. It was then the multi-starrer thriller Ore Mukham happened. The movie saw him as Jacob Stephen, a role with negative shades, a member in the rival gang of the hero, Dhyan Sreenivasan.
“The character got noticed and offers started pouring in. But once burnt, I was very cautious while choosing movies and roles. It took us a year to finally zero in on a script – Santhosh Nair’s Sachin,” says the Thiruvananthapuram native, who, along with producing the movie, acts as Naveen, a cricket player and a close acquaintance of the character played by Ramesh Pisharody.
Sachin, also starring Dhyan, Aju Varghese, Appani Sarath and Anna Rajan, is a romantic story set against the backdrop of cricket.
“It’s a humorous movie that discusses the rivalry between two cricket teams and a love story in parallel. I play a character who taunts Pisharody into fighting with others. Being a younger group, the set was brimming with life and fun. It was all pranks, jokes, teamwork, rehearsals and spot improvisations,” he says.
His next movie Parole, which JJ Production co-produces, is altogether different. He plays a jail warden, Rajkumar, in the Mammootty-starrer directed by Sharath Sandith. “Rajkumar is a kind cop who has got his first posting in jail. The sets, role and vibes with co-actors were all different. The shooting was also a revelation for me. From a Lal fan, I became an admirer of Mammootty. Such a cool person, he is nothing like the mega star I had known from gossips. A very supportive and encouraging person, he has become more like a mentor to me,” he states.
Now that he is finding his feet in the industry, he would tread with caution. Aiming at joining the league of successful actor-producers, he wants to make at least two good movies a year. Detailing his plan, Juby says, “I want to handle both acting and production. Offers are coming from both Malayalam and Tamil. For next year, I have taken up two production ventures and have signed up for four movies – one of those a bilingual and another, a Tamil one. Right now, I’m keeping my fingers crossed to know the audience response before making my next move.”