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From 'Mollywood' all the way to Sligo

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Aadi Swarupu pictured at Rockwood Parade, Sligo. Pic: Donal Hackett

Aadi Swarupu pictured at Rockwood Parade, Sligo. Pic: Donal Hackett

Aadi Swarupu on set

Aadi Swarupu on set

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Aadi Swarupu pictured at Rockwood Parade, Sligo. Pic: Donal Hackett

Aadi Swarupu came to Sligo for the first time ten years ago and fell in love with the place so much he located here earlier this year.

An actor by profession, having starred as a child in Malayalam (Mollywood) cinema, the Indian film industry based in the southern state of Kerala, he cut his teeth on the Irish acting scene in 2010, starring in The Savage Eye.

Speaking to The Sligo Champion about settling in Sligo just before the entire country shut down, Swarupu, as he prefers to be known as, says he was lucky to have moved to Ireland when he did.

Swarupu's wife, who works as a nurse at Sligo University Hospital and moved to Sligo with their son two years ago and on March 13th last, a day after former Taoiseach Leo Varadkar issued all schools to close, the actor joined his family here.

"I was starring in movies in India at the time and after some break I came to Ireland. I first came to Ireland in 2005, to Tramore, Co Waterford and then moved to Dublin where I stayed until 2011. During that time I visited Sligo and I fell in love with it. It is so peaceful," he explained.

After moving back to his native India, Swarupu kept thinking of Ireland and the many friends he had made here and when thinking of coming back he suggested his wife look into nursing jobs in Sligo. Two years on their son is in sixth class in Carbury National School.

Asked how he found lockdown in Sligo, the actor said he was simply happy to be here and grateful for the county's space and beauty.

"India is suffering a big problem [with Covid-19). The population is very high, so there are many problems, so I was happier to be here. People are very afraid in India."

Swarupu believes Ireland is in a lot better situation than his home country.

"We will overcome, it will be alright soon. The Indian government are strictly watching the situation. In Ireland we can control it, the population is much low here."

He sings Sligo's praises and said people have been very welcoming to his family.

"It's peaceful here, the inhabitants of Sligo are very nice and helpful. When I came here people were very polite and caring.

The actor says the other perk of Sligo is the cost of living.

"The Dublin housing market is very constricted, there's more freedom here and more happiness here."

Hoping to scoop some acting roles once the industry can safely pick up here again, Swarupu is candid about prospects but says in future he will return to India for roles while his family plan to wait here full time.

"It is not a good time for acting [due to the pandemic]. There are limitations for acting here but if there is any Indian character they will contact me," he explained.

Sligo Champion