Special: Prithviraj Sukumaran and Jimmy Jean-Louis on The Goat Life, being vulnerable and more

If you move forward during Blessy’s Aadujeevitham or The Goat Life, it becomes difficult to recognize Prithviraj Sukumaran. Based on the true story of Najeeb, a Malayali migrant who is forced to work as a goat herder in the desert of Saudi Arabia, the film is a survival drama. Getting into the body of the part was as difficult as getting into the head of the star and his friend Jimmy Jean-Louis who plays Ibrahim Khadiri. The process of making the film, which included being stationed in Jordan during the pandemic, required a lot of courage and dedication. After years of development in hell, it hits theaters this week.

In an exclusive interview with Filmfare, Prithviraj Sukumaran and Jimmy Jean-Louis opened up about making The Goat Life, showing their side of danger to the world and more.
Since the film is about survival, what has been your journey to survive in the film industry?
Prithviraj: As I live in the film, I believe that survival is not about being confined to one area of ​​your life. So when you talk about survival, the word makes you think you’re stuck. But survival really involves movement. And the biggest survivors are always on the move. Najeeb survived the ordeal because his mind wandered from one day to the next. So metaphorically, it’s all about walking. It can be a movement within your mind or a physical manifestation.

Jimmy: My whole life has been about survival. From one world to another, I’m just trying to understand what life meant and understand myself. I think it’s really important to have a desire for what’s to come and how to push yourself. Often times, life is challenged. Even the most difficult times can be good for you. Some of my worst stories like being homeless in Paris have been good lessons. Now, I can learn from those experiences and apply them to my life. So yes, don’t be uncomfortable with your situation.

Prithviraj, what was the biggest change in the game?

Prithviraj: When this film came to me in 2009 I knew immediately that it was about the process. The story was about the transformation of a person and how things work for him. Change is a big part of this story. It is not about physical and tangible vibration. How this person changes is part of the story. But I was surprised by what I was able to do. I put on a lot of weight at the beginning of the film so that the transformation is more visible. From there I lost 31 kgs. There is no healthy way to do it. You don’t need to lose more than a third of your body weight. My doctors told me that this was not something they would tell me to do. But I knew that I had to do this film. I’m happy with where I got it from but I can tell you I won’t be doing it again. If there’s a film that tries too hard that requires me to do that again, I’d be unapologetic to say that I can’t handle another change like that.
Jimmy: This commitment is not natural. There are many risks associated with it.
How difficult is it to go from solid roles to showing your most vulnerable side on the big screen?

Prithviraj: There is a dichotomy in that question and that is the beauty of it. I’ve realized over the years that often, when you see a person’s weakest point of view is when they are at their strongest. Najeeb at his weakest, was perhaps the strongest version of himself. Otherwise, he would have stopped. In the film, Najeeb who is healthy and fat, is weak and frail. If you meet him three years later and he can’t stand without holding a cane, he has great spiritual peace because he is now mentally strong. As an actor, it’s important to understand that being vulnerable doesn’t mean looking vulnerable. Some of the strongest looking men can be the most vulnerable people you will ever meet. And some men who looked weak on the surface could have a lot of strength.

Jimmy: As an actor you try to get into another genre to forget about yourself. For this character Khadiri, he is a protector, like an angel, a person sent by God who is there to help and guide a person who does not know him, to freedom. That is a very good thing to do. He is not doing it for any reward but because it is the human thing to do. Being able to show this kind of personality teaches you that this is what you need to do in your daily life. Sometimes you do jobs that teach you real life lessons. That’s how I grew up. I learned a lot about the life of playing even the weakest.

prithviraj sukumaran the life of a goat

What was your experience working with Blessy?

Prithviraj: Blessy is one of the most overlooked filmmakers in the Malayalam film industry. When you talk to actors from the industry they tell you that one Blessy film is the box we want to put in. I am lucky because when Blessy decided to make his Magnum Opus, he decided that I should be the lead actor in the film. The great thing about him as a filmmaker is that he has a strong sense of how he wants to tell a story. He just holds on to it with absolute strength. Otherwise it would be impossible to produce something with all the problems this film faced. A weak person, even a filmmaker would have given up and abandoned the vision. But they never did in the 16 years it was made. There was not a single moment of compromise. It’s amazing. I’m just lucky to be a part of it.
Recently, SS Rajamouli said that the Malayalam film industry has “successful actors”. What do you say about this?
Prithviraj: I take this compliment from this legend very humbly. But I also think there are great actors everywhere. Perhaps at this point, we Malayalam actors are lucky enough to have the good stuff we get to showcase our talent and talent on a regular and consistent basis. Great movies are being made in Malayalam and I am very happy. But good actors can be found everywhere in the country and the world. Take Jimmy [Jean-Louis] for example, we wanted Ibrahim Khadiri and it took us three years. And it wasn’t that Jimmy Jean-Louis was a readily available name for Indian bowling assistants. We went through many shows and videos and found a great actor from Haiti, who has lived in France and the US.

prithviraj sukumaran the life of a goat

Speaking of actors in all industries, what does the future of pan Indian cinema look like for you?

Prithviraj: It is a very bright future. It’s a bus

a natural evolution of the entire film industry. Thanks to the role of entertainment in streaming services and TV and YouTube, people now have access to content from around the world. If anyone living in Jammu and Kashmir has heard about a great Malayalam movie now they have a way to watch it. Tomorrow I will hear about a big Bhojpuri movie. There is a way for me too. Little by little content is moving everywhere. Hindi has always been lucky. Now the industry understands that there has to be cooperation where we work together and for each other. Soon we will be doing an Indian movie. No more “prices”.

Jimmy: I feel lucky to have these people. I didn’t know what I was getting into. To be led by someone like Blessy. I have worked with some of the best directors in Hollywood but to see how caring Blessy is and to have a partner like Raj, I was very grateful to be recognized.

for the Indian audience.
What were some of the challenges that brought this film to life after so many years?
Prithviraj: The film came to me in 2009 and we started shooting in 2018. Back then it was impossible to pull off something this big. The vision was very big. I don’t think we can afford such an expensive project. Over time things changed. Indian movies as well as Malayalam movies made progress. Finally in 2018 it remained a big risk but we can legitimately think about it working. But an outbreak occurred and the shooting was stopped. We had to go back to Jordan and Algeria and finish a year and a half post production process. The problems have been countless. The main thing was that the whole team had a vision for the end. Having the passion to do what we wanted to do 16 years ago is what makes it so special.

Prithviraj, you said that your daughter has never watched any of your films. What is the first movie you would show him?

Prithviraj: I have not shown my daughter any of my films because she is nine years old now. If they see my film, they are not mature enough to understand that it is not me. He will still see his father on screen and this will add something else. But at some point in his life he is ready this is a movie I want him to watch. I don’t think I can choose another film from my own film collection. Most importantly at some point in his life he will ask me what does it mean to be an actor? I show him the film and tell him this is what you have to offer. It’s a trade and it’s how much you have to commit to your work.
Finally, what does being a goat mean to you?
Prithviraj: It has become the language of Gen Z that is used everywhere from games to movies. To me, anyone who is trying to be independent is a GOAT. According to the film, Najeeb’s life is one of the most interesting of all time. For a person to live through the experiences that you will see in the film and deal with what has happened and come out on the other side and be able to retell the story so that the world knows about it, is definitely a goat. move.

The Goat Life is currently in theaters.

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