Actor Raj Arjun, who is best known for his work in ‘Secret Superstar’, ‘Dear Comrade’, ‘Watchman’, and ‘Thalaivii’, gets candid about his short film ‘The Miniaturist Of Junagadh’ for which he has won the Best Actor Award at IFFSA Toronto 2021.
Helmed by Kaushal Oza, the film also stars Naseeruddin Shah, Rasika Duggal and Padmavati Rao. It has released on YouTube.
The story revolves around a Muslim family preparing to migrate to Pakistan. The new house owner Kishorilal (Raj Arjun) arrives to take possession of the house and everything in it.
Talking about his character Kishorilal, he says: “I would say nobody intentionally becomes negative but it’s their vulnerability, something which binds them to behave in a certain way and doesn’t allow them to open their heart. I have seen so many people like Kishorilal in my life who are very reserved.”
“They look like they don’t have happiness in their life or are very negative but it so happens that when they open up they show their sensitive side as well. So this is what my character is. He is very complicated and hard in nature.”
He continues: “He is a buyer of antique things which is a profession passed on from his grandfather and father to him. He is a typical businessman keeping his emotions aside. He buys all antique and ancient stuff from people who were leaving for Pakistan due to their helplessness during the Partition period.”
“But later on, when the story unfolds, it strikes a chord in his heart which brings out sensitivity in him towards the family leaving their house.I have been hearing these struggles during Partition from my grandparents. So I created this character from these memories and references.”
Sharing about his working experience he states: “Naseeruddin Sahab is a legend. He shares a very comfortable space with his co-stars which helps you to give your best. There was no pressure as such like working with a senior actor. I have wanted to work with him for a long time and then I got the opportunity to share screen space with him in this short film.”
“It was great to observe him performing as well and it was a blissful experience. When two actors are fully immersed in their character, the nuances automatically happen in each scene. It was also great working with Rasika Dugal and Padmavati ji. We all are theatre actors so it was a very great experience altogether.”
Talking about the core message of the film he adds: “It compels you to think about what the families have gone through during the Partition. Though this is a story of one family, it takes you back to that emotion and feeling of trauma of leaving your own country. This film takes you through that experience.”