I had to rely on my imagination of Dr APJ: Arjun Radhakrishnan

Portraying APJ Abdul Kalam in Rocket Boys turned out to be a dream role for actor Arjun Radhakrishnan, who is also looking forward to some big releases this year

author_img Monika Monalisa Published :  15th February 2022 04:13 PM   |   Published :   |  15th February 2022 04:13 PM

Arjun Radhakrishnan

As a 16-year-old student, Arjun Radhakrishnan recalls late president APJ Abdul Kalam visiting Fergusson College, Pune, for a talk. Radhakrishnan could never have imagined that he would portray the very same personality’s character in a show one day. Radhakrishnan is a key character in Rocket Boys, a period drama on Sony Liv, that delves into the lives of Indian scientists Homi J Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai. While he’s only introduced in the seventh episode, Radhakrishnan has managed to leave a mark. The show also stars Jim Sarbh, Ishwak Singh and Regina Cassandra.

The actor, who regularly visits the city to meet his extended family here as well as for shoots, is still grappling with the spotlight. Since the release of  Rocket Boys, Radhakrishnan’s DMs have been filled with congratulatory messages, and like he says, it’s “surreal.” Though most of the scenes, set in the Indian Institute of Science, were shot in Pune, Radhakrishnan says both the cities have a similar vibe to them. He was in Bengaluru recently for the shoot of a Malayalam movie, also starring Minnal Murali fame, Tovino Thomas.

The response to his character has surprised Radhakrishnan himself. “It’s nice that the character has got so much attention... that’s also because the show is made so well,” says the 35-year-old, who had to go through four rounds of audition to bag the part. “I auditioned for it when the pandemic had just started, sometime in May 2020. Suddenly the world had come to a standstill when I got a call about this role. I could not believe it myself,” says Radhakrishnan, recalling that he had to sneak into his friend’s apartment during the lockdown to make his audition tape.

Playing a part that is set in 1956, without much visual reference, the Pune-based actor had to rely on his imagination to draw inspiration from. “The period that we are talking about in the show, which is 1956 onwards, had no visual reference to it. I found a few photographs of Mr Kalam when he was with Mr Sarabhai. So I had to rely a lot on my imagination,” he says, adding that the articles sent by the research team of the show helped him a lot. Coming with a theatre background, he believes, too helped a great extent.

Radhakrishnan, who is currently shooting for season 2 of the series, has some big projects coming up, including Jhund, starring Amitabh Bachchan. The film is based on the life of NGO Slum Soccer founder Vijay Barse, who coaches a football team of slum dwellers. Apart from this, he will also be seen in a Malayam movie which will release in March.

All about ‘Rocket Boys’

Physicist and astronomer Vikram Sarabhai met Nuclear Physicist Homi Bhabha for the first time at the Indian Institute of Science. After his studies were interrupted in Cambridge, Sarabhai was given permission to continue working on his PhD, under the guidance of Nobel Prize-winning physicist, CV Raman. Kalam was also a part of the INCOSPAR committee and was working under Vikram Sarabhai. While working in ISRO as project director of SLV-III, Kalam successfully deployed the Rohini satellite near Earth orbit.