Relationships are everything. Whether they are familial, professional, friendship based, or romantic in nature, they are the largest determiner of how you will perceive your self-value. Of the romantic ones, some relationships are less complicated than others. Actor Poorva Wachh understands this better than most. A successful Indian born actor who has made his way to Hollywood produced films, Poorva has a foot steeped in two very different cultures. Actors with personal experience bring a heightened sense of authenticity to their roles, something Poorva recently brought to the film Peppermint to both his and the film’s great praise. Peppermint is a story of typical relationship complications that are exacerbated by cultural differences. It’s a scenario that is increasingly found as the world becomes more culturally integrated. The powerful performances of Wachh as the male lead in this film displays the notion that love is the greatest achievement but is more demanding of some than others.
Believability is the strongest attribute of an actor but the ability of an audience to see something of themselves in a character who is completely dissimilar in age, gender, ethnicity, or other obvious traits is a very close second. In Peppermint, Poorva is relatable in his presentation of an Indian writer named Ray Subramaniyam to nearly anyone who has considered crossing the threshold into marriage. This union is simultaneously self-fulfilling and sacrificial. For Subramaniyam and his fiancé, his proposal sparks the recognition of personal and cultural chasms which could be lethal to their time together. With the exception of his romantic partner, Ray is content to lead the solitary life of a writer, smoking and toiling at his typewriter. The momentary joy elicited by his proposal to Jenny (his fiancé, played by Alexandria Crouse) quickly turns to dissention when the couple talks of a potential future family. Subramaniyam feels the pressure of establishing his professional career before he ages further while Jenny feels the same in regards to having children. The divisiveness compounds when Jenny states that Pakistan and India are the same things, truly infuriating Ray. The abrupt emotional turns in this couple’s interaction and perspectives is a profound testament to the chemistry between Wachh and Crouse. Director Shubham Sanjay Shevade approached Poorva personally about this project with the notion that he was ideal for the role. Poorva informs, “I took it as a great compliment that Shubham wanted me for this role but I still had to audition and prove myself. It was certainly intuitive to become Ray Subramaniyam to some extent since we share a similar background. I’ve had bad relationships and bad breakups but I still had to work on being Ray. I’m very social in real life but this character was utterly the opposite. I distanced myself from other people just for the character build-up. I’d introduce myself to others as him and place my Starbucks order under his name, little things to ease into embodying him.” Wachh received the “Best Actor” award the Flicks Film Festival and the Hollywood Blood Horror Film Festival for his depiction of Ray Subramaniyam in Peppermint.
Wachh references films like The Big Sick and Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance in Revolutionary Road as inspirational for his award-winning performance in Peppermint. However, he’s adamant that the success of the film does not rest solely on him. He states, “I have to give credit to my co-star Alexandria Crouse, my director, and the team who were onset and offset as well as the story and script, of course. Because of everybody’s hard work and my struggle and commitment to the character, this movie won at so many festivals and earned many nominations. The audience loved the chemistry between Ray and Jenny, they were moved and they empathized with their story. The way these two characters come from a different culture and their conflicts and their difference in living style made them special. It is a right blend all together, which portrays the diversity and problems in a relationship or marriage.”
Writer: Angela Cooper