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Rudhraksh Jaiswal On Being  Chris Hemsworth’s Youngest  Costar

The surprise  packet  of  Avengers’  superstar  Chris Hemsworth’s new Netflix blockbuster Extraction is 16-year old Rudhraksh Jaiswal who  shares almost every frame with the Australian   superstar.

When I  spoke to  Rudhraksh he seemed dazed  and dazzled  by the experience. “It’s all so unreal…I never  thought I’d be an actor. I was a state-level  swimmer and also a  mixed martial-arts  student. I was also good  at my studies. Then one  day  I got a call from  the casting  director for an audition  for an  ad. I was reluctant as I had a swimming competition coming  up. But my Mom  persuaded  me to give it a  try. So I did one  audition, then another…That’s how I got interested in acting.”

Extraction has changed  everything  fo Rudhraksh. “I  did a role in the serial Mahabharat   before this film. But yes , Extraction was  a big Hollywood film. And  it  was a different experience  altogether.”

Very  few  Indian actors get this kind of  pivotal role , and that too in a big-budgeted action spectacle.The 16-year old  who played  Sahadeva in a 2013  serialization  Mahabharat  admits  he was taken aback  when he  bagged the  role of Ovi Mahajan the kidnapped  boy whois rescued by  Hemsworth  from Dhaka’s mafia.  “It came  as a surprise.When I  got the  role I had no idea  Chris was going to be  my  co-star. The casting director Tess Joseph, who has been instrumental  in my getting this role,   called  me and  I went  through several auditions before I  got  the role.Then  Ms Tess Joseph told me Sam Hargrave was the director and  I was  like, wow. I knew he did all the stunts for  the Avengers  film. I am  a big fan of the MCU(Marvel Comics Universe). So  was I surprised to get the role? Yes, and very very grateful for  having bagged such a  pivotal  role in  such a big film.”

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Rudhraksh  had  to  perform some  really dangerous  stunts. “But it wasn’t as hard as it looks because I have done  a lot of gymnastics  and  I  love  sports. Also, Sam Sir(director  Sam Hargrave) and Chris Sir(Hemsworth)  were very supportive. Sam  Sir has  a distinguished stunt background and  he was directing for the first time.  It felt  like  a huge honour being  part  of Sam Sir’s directorial debut. And  then he told me  I’d be working with Chris Hemsworth. Until then I was just auditioning  for 6-7 rounds. I  had no idea  whom I  was  going to work with. To be working with  Chris Hemsworth and  Sam Hargraves. Oh my God! I felt  it  was  all a dream.”

Chris  was  very helpful. “Before we started shooting in Ahmedabad, we had several script readings  during which Chris Sir helped me  understand my role.He  helped me to  understand   many of  the intricacies of  the script. He  gave me  a lot of acting tips.He taught me voice modulation. Chris Sir also  helped me with my action scenes. He is super-fit and  super-handsome. He’s always been very inspiring for me . And the way  he rolled and jumped …I am really thank ful, to Chris Sir. To watch  him and his body-double Bobby Holland  doing all those stunts  was  a very  inspiring experience.”

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At  the  end  of  Extraction there  is a distraction where  we  get the feeling there’s going  to be  a sequel.Rudhraksh says he has  no idea  of this. “If it happens it will be good.I’d love to work with the crew again. But one of my friends pointed  out the  very interesting water  connection between  Chris Sir’s character  and me. When he is introduced the film he’s  meditating at the  bottom  of  a river. When the film ends  I am at the  bottom of a swimmingpool.”

Is it true  Rudhraksh  will be  in  the  next Avengers  film?  “When last year   Joe Russo Sir  came to  Mumbai to promote Avengers I mailed him to ask if I could meet  him. He  invited me  over to the Taj.We  spoke of the MCU.We  shot some  funny videos .And he  told me I could  be part  of his  next film and it maybe  an Avengers film.So if that happens , nothing like it.”

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 Sadly  , because  of  the  lockdown  Rudhraksh is missing it on all the public attention  that Extraction would have probably got him. “Yes  I  could have  done  a lot more publicity for  the film.But this is a  time when all of us need  to stay indoors. I could’ve gone to  my school. My school friends keep face-timing me, asking for Chris Sir’s autograph. I  love making them  jealous.”

Rudhraksh is in touch with Chris Hemsworth who is  in Australia. “I have been in  touch with him. I keep  asking  him for acting tips and if there  is a good acting school abroad I can attend.We wish each other for all religious festivals.”

Next from Rudhraksh is  a film titled The Tenant  where he  again plays  a pivotal  role. “It’s been  to a couple  of film festivals. I will be released  in August.My Mom is also  taking to  some major production  houses.  I want to  pursue  my  acting career while I  finish my studies and then  I’ll be  fully into acting.  But  right now I’m at home like  everyone  else  doing  household chores, cooking , cleaning . At the moment I am just another  boy helping his  mom during the lockdown.”

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