Boy of many interests: Sarvajith Santosh Sivan on passion for acting and insects

Sangeeta Padmanabhan
Sarvajith Santosh Sivan Dulquer Salmaan

Sarvajith Santosh Sivan (left) plays Dulquer Salmaan's (right) younger brother in the Anoop Sathyan's Varane Avashyamund.

The Sivan clan is known for their contribution to cinema. Starting from Sivan, the photographer -turned-director to Santosh Sivan, cinematographer- director, most members of the family are in cinema -- behind the camera, to be precise. But Sarvajith Santosh, son of Santosh Sivan, is treading a different path by landing in front of the camera. Sarvajit, aka Appu, debuted in Malayalam film 'Varane Avashyamund' starring Suresh Gopi, Shobana, Dulquer Salmaan and Kalyani Priyadarshan in lead roles. Appu plays Dulquer's younger brother in the Anoop Sathyan directorial currently into the second week at the box office.

"One of my friends made a YouTube video with me. In that, I mentioned one of my pets, a hen named KFC. Anoop happened to see it and traced me out. He called and said he wanted KFC in his new film. I agreed. Then to my shock, he added that he wanted me also in the movie," Appu said about the unexpected opportunity to appear on the big screen.

Sarvajith Santosh Sivan

Sarvajith Santosh Sivan shares his pet hen was quite tense during the first few days of the shoot, but eventually got used to it.

Sarvajith, a class seven student at the Akshar Arbol International School in Chennai, has been part of plays in school and also been a regular at the after school theatre run by Kriya Shakti.

"I like acting. I enjoy being someone else. The film shooting was great fun. I loved being with all the artistes. My director was very affable. Dulquer used to tease me a lot," remembers Appu, who was quite busy managing KFC on the sets. His pet, he adds, was quite tense during the first few days of the shoot, but eventually got used to it.

"I love pets and have a lot of them at home. I have two other hens - Salt and Pepper. Then I have some fish, beetles. I have some song birds too," reveals Appu who wants to be an entomologist in future. He strongly feels for the insects and believes they are very important to the planet earth and deserve to be conserved.

"Many people think insects are creepy, but if you look closer, you will understand that they are actually helping the planet and healing it to make it a better place. I am extremely passionate about them. I already know a bit about science and am very keen to know further. Not many places have entomology as a separate subject. Few places like Harvard and University of Arizona have it I guess. I would like to go to one of these places where they teach entomology as a science," says Sarvajith who aspires to be part of the Royal Entomogical Society in future.

Remind him about his lineage in photography, swift comes the response.

"Entomology too has a little bit of photography. When you are photographing insects, you have to be really careful and wait for the right moment. Say if you are photographing a caterpillar, it might take days together to get the moment of transition," explains Appu who takes photos and videos of unique insects he comes across. He then reaches out to the experts and asks them about it.

Read Varane Avashyamund review in Malayalam

With his first film releasing in Chennai today, where he lives with his parents Santosh Sivan and Deepa, Appu has thoughts about balancing entomology and acting.

Sarvajith Santosh Sivan

Appu is not the first from the Sivan family to debut on screen.

"I haven't seen the film yet. My extended family in Kerala has seen it and some of Malayali teachers from school have also seen it. Practically everyone is saying I should do more films. But frankly, I am not too sure. I think I will try to balance both. My parents are very supportive of all my interests. Let's see what's in store."

Read the interview in Malayalam

Appu is not the first from the Sivan family to debut on screen. His father Santosh Sivan had portrayed the role of Raja Ravi Varma in Makara Manju (2011). His uncles Sangeeth Sivan and Sanjeev Sivan are also film directors and screenwriters.

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