'Sandesham', directed by Sathyan Anthikad and written by Sreenivasan remains a cult classic today. From the dialogues to the characters, they have a massive fan following on social media, apart from being popular meme materials. Now the actor who played the mischievous younger brother of Prabhakaran Kottappally (Sreenivasan) and Prakashan Kottappally (Jayaram) in the film, Prashanthan Kottappally is all set to make a comeback. One is unlikely to forget the fiery little wannabe comrade in the film. That lad Rahul Lakshman is now a doctor and runs a clinic in Vaduthala with his wife Dr Lakshmy. And 32 years later, Rahul is back in SN Swamy’s upcoming directorial debut headlining Dhyan Sreenivasan. Yes, he is playing a doctor in the film.
“Being part of a film like 'Sandesham' was truly one of the greatest blessings of my life. After the film, the headmaster of my school who is a priest asked me— “Aren’t you a mimicry artist? You even imitate me. Why can’t you imitate a rank holder then?” That really struck me. From then onwards, I really put my heart and soul into my studies. The climax of 'Sandesham' shows my onscreen brothers getting back to work and persuading me to concentrate on my studies. That really happened.
After ‘Sandesham’, I essayed a role in a serial titled ‘Oru Chitralekha.’ I was there for 21 episodes and my role was quite challenging. I never acted after that. I got busy pursuing MBBS (it was my dream to study medicine). 'Piravi' was, infact, my first film. Shaji N Karun, who was the director of Chitranjali then, had invited me to the State Youth Festival as part of a programme. While returning home, he told my father that he needed me for a film. It was Aravindan sir and Shaji sir who selected me. I acted as Premji’s son. That’s how I became an actor. 'Sandesham' was filmed in 1991. I also acted as Nedumudi Venu sir’s son in PN Menon sir’s ‘Money Order.’ So I have only acted in three films.
Vineeth Sreenivasan was a student of my Guru Perunthatil Gopalan sir. It was sir who told Sreenivasan to give me a role in a film. That’s how I was offered ‘Sandesham.’ I consider myself lucky to be part of a classic film like ‘Sandesham’.
From 1988 to 1992 I came first in mimicry and monoact events at Youth festivals. I was an actor then and I along with Vineeth Kumar was featured in ‘Malayala Manorama’ under the title ‘Thara Thilakkam.’ It was mimicry and monoact that led me to movies.
Meeting Kalabhavan Mani
Rahul remembers his meeting with Kalabhavan Mani. “Mani had arrived as the chief guest at a function being held at Kozhikode Medical College when I was the finance secretary. He was accompanied by Kalabhavan Naushad. He asked me my name. Later, onstage, he said that I had defeated him at the State School Youth Festival in 1988. I was stunned. Later, I told him he shouldn’t have said that. I didn’t know that this was the same KR Mani who had represented Government Boys High School in Chalakudy. Even now I have goosebumps when I think of Mani. We lost a great legend.
Currently, I am preparing to play a part in SN Swami sir’s directorial debut headlining Dhyan Sreenivasan. I am facing the camera after 32 years. Then, I had the chance to be part of a great film written by Sreenivasan and today I am making my comeback in a film starring his son. Dhyan is a great guy. And I am happy to share screen space with him. There is only a small spelling difference between an actor and a doctor. But the professions are very different. Having said that, I think when an actor becomes a doctor, there are many advantages. I want to balance both professions well,” says Rahul Lakshman.