He was once the top comedian of Tamil cinema and enjoyed a status equal to that of the hero in a movie. He was acting in at least a dozen films a year. But, after turning into a hero, the actor Santhanam is seen only in a few films now.
His last film Sakka Podu Podu Raja received only a lukewarm response and some of his completed flicks like Server Sundaram got delayed in release, which is why ‘Santa’ decided to make a sequel to his horror comedy earlier hit Dhillukku Dhuddu.
“I can earn big bucks if I continue to act as a comedian. But, making money is not my priority now. I want to go to the next level in my life. From a small beginning of a TV anchor to comedian in films to a hero to a producer, I have come a long way. I want my career graph to be an inspiration for others,” says ‘Santa’ who has a huge fan following. DC recently caught up with him for a quick chat.
Teaming up with Rambhala once again: It is no secret that I share a great rapport with Rambhala from our Lollu Sabha days. And when we collaborated for the horror comedy Dhillukku Dhuddu a few years back, it was well received. The first 20 minutes of the first part were so hilarious, it worked out wonderfully. In the sequel, we wanted to make it more of a slapstick comedy than dialogue-oriented.
On his character in DD2: I play Vellai Viji, an auto rickshaw driver from north Chennai. He is a very local fellow and fearless and commutes late at nights. Instead of humans getting scared of ghosts, in a reversal, ghosts get frightened seeing him in DD2. I have shed down 5 kilos for the role.
Choosing a heroine from Kerala: We have a reason to it. Like how we chose Anchal Singh from Mumbai to play the role of a Marwadi girl, here also the story shifts to Kerala in the second half. The heroine Shrita Shivadas essays a Malayali girl and a physiotherapist in DD2.
I don’t choose any heroine for my flicks. It is the directors’ job to choose an apt girl for the role he has envisaged.
Long gap between releases: (Thinks for a while.) Some of my completed films are stuck due to various reasons. And their releases are not in my hands as I am not the producer of those movies. However, whichever film I make like DD2 under my home banner of Handmade Films, I see that they hit the marquee on time.
Using ace writer Indira Soundarrajan’s expertise: He was of great help to us in our earlier ghost film. In DD 2 also, we have taken his assistance, especially for the portions involving spirits.
On another anchor-turned-hero, Sivakarthikeyan: His is a gigantic leap. I feel happy and proud for whatever he is today. Having made it big in films from a humble beginning, he has set a great example to others.
Nurturing ambition of directing: Yes, I always discuss scenes and situations when I earlier worked with director Rajesh and Rambhala now. It is but natural that I want to lay my hands on direction. I have also written a few scripts, which are commercial comical entertainers.
Whom do you want to cast in the lead, we ask: I have my close buddy actor Arya in mind. Let’s see.
How about Simbu who introduced you to films? I am thankful to STR and my fans who have always encouraged and supported me. Yes, if a suitable script is ready, I will approach Simbu sir....