Banjo’s Ram Menon believes in choosing his roles with caution
I hail from Hyderabad and have been inclined towards acting since I was in school, where I was involved in acting, singing, painting and the like. So I knew what career choices to make. Once I finished my education, I joined Roshan Taneja’s acting school, which helped me groom myself. After that, I worked briefly as a teacher in the same institute.
After my stint at acting school, I did a little English theatre. Theatre helps you build self-confidence because you are performing in front of a live audience. Then, I got into advertising, where I voiced more than 1,000 ad films. This was instrumental in helping me survive in a city like Mumbai. I also acted in a few ad films. What I love most is offbeat projects.
I have worked in films like Paa, Home Delivery and Rockstar but these were really small roles. I chose those films so that I could work with directors and actors. So, for Rockstar, Imtiaz Ali told me it was a very small role but I said I just wanted to work with him and Ranbir Kapoor. In that film, I played Ranbir’s college friend. These are the kind of experiences that add up and help an actor grow.
On bagging Banjo
I got a call from casting director Mukesh Chhabra, who used to call me for ad auditions. Once after seeing my audition Ravi sir, asked me to audition for the role that he wanted me to play in Banjo. The role we are playing demands us to act as slum boys from Mumbai, which means the tone, accent and language have to be consistent with that. We did some workshops and got into our characters through readings.
The fun part about the workshop was that we met the banjo kids. Learning a new instrument was an experience for me. We also did reading sessions with the entire team so that we got to know each other. The writer of the film was closely involved with our workshops, which helped us understand the nuances of the script. And Ravi sir and Riteish were like mentors who helped us throughout.