Whipping up something new: Bengaluru chef Abraham Jacob stars in ‘Neru’

City chef Abraham Jacob, who stars in Mohanlal’s latest film Neru, on his accidental pivot to the cinematic world and his first on-set experience
Stills from the film ‘Neru’
Stills from the film ‘Neru’

From the bustling kitchens of Bengaluru to the dazzling lights of a film set, Abraham Jacob, also known as Chef Abe has made quite a leap with his first cinematic venture in the Malayalam film Neru, directed by the renowned director Jeethu Joseph, famed for creating the original Drishyam franchise.

“It is a big change in direction. It’s a career I never ever dreamt I would be a part of. The culinary side of things has been with me for around 25 years. I had done a commercial two years ago and it so happened that Mr Jeethu Joseph was on the lookout for a fresh face for his movie Neru, which means truth. I got a message one day out of the blue where Mr Joseph introduced himself and told me that he had a movie in mind and wanted to speak with me. It was one of the most fascinating experiences in my life – to get a call from an astute and brilliant director like him,” says Jacob, the old Bangalorean, who is also a food and beverage consultant.

Neru, a courtroom drama which delves into the intricacies of justice and power after a blind sculptor is assaulted, brings back the dynamic duo of actor Mohanlal and director Joseph after their successful collaborations in Drishyam and 12th Man. Jacob plays the role of Christopher Joseph, father of the accused Michael Joseph which takes him on a journey of discovering the intricacies of playing a character like that with conviction. “I am playing the role of a rich businessman from Mumbai with a spoilt son who is trying to use his power to bring in the best lawyer to fight the case,” shares Jacob.

Jacob feels privileged to have been part of such an experience in his debut film. “Every single experience for me from the day I got that call to the time I spent in locations across Kerala was very special. I have learnt so much from the experience,” he says, adding, “What I found most amazing with him [Jeethu Joseph] is that he makes you give him the kind of performance he has in mind. Irrespective of the number of takes, he wants the best of the artists on set.”

For Jacob, being surrounded by popular actors like Siddique and Priyamani was challenging initially. “This was my first film, and first time on set with a large production company, so I had butterflies in my stomach. But when you hear your director say, ‘Cut, well done’, that makes you feel like you have achieved something in a small measure,” says Jacob. Talking about his co-stars, Siddique and Priyamani, his on-screen lawyers, Jacob says, “It was Siddique who made me feel comfortable whenever I was overwhelmed. Working with Priyamani was great because she would also speak in Kannada and we would crack local jokes sometimes and have a good laugh.”

Following a successful run in theatres, Neru is now on OTT. While Jacob is in talks for future roles, his passion for food is here to stay. “2024 started on a beautiful note and Neru is now on OTT reaching multiple audiences. We will be opening a brewery in Sarjapur soon and I am looking forward to that too,” says Jacob.

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