Vijay Sethupathi at 37, is an A-lister in K’town, with five hits in 2016, and the sixth one, Rekka with Lakshmi Menon, gearing up for release this Friday. This dusky actor has indeed come a long way from the time he entered the industry at the age of 20. In a freewheeling interview, the Naanum Rowdy Thaan actor says, “As long as the audience doesn’t get bored seeing me on screen, I will continue to act. I don’t have a yardstick with respect to choosing scripts. I just want to go with the tide with an open mind. The struggles and experiences have taught me to handle situations in a calmer way.”
Vijay Sethupathi, known for his versatility, is undoubtedly spearheading the next generation of actors in Tamil cinema and has been given an apt sobriquet, Makkal Selvan. “It was my mentor Seenu Ramasamy’s gift to me out of love and I don’t see it as a title. I won’t part with it. His films Dharmadurai and the recent Aandavan Kattalai were well received. Many appreciated the latter, which dealt with the problems of those who relocate to Chennai, and I could relate to it well since I myself have undergone the problems of getting a house for rent when I relocated from Rajapalayam.”
The actor, who is known for experimenting with roles in each film, says that he does not consider anyone in the industry as his competitor. “For me, my portions and scenes are very important. I am also particular about rehearsals. Even if there’s a big actor as my co-star, I would request that we rehearse before the actual shot.”
The actor states that he does not insist on casting a particular heroine in his films — “I don’t interfere with the selection of the female lead in my movies. It is the director’s job, after all. And it’s his script. None of the big actresses have made any fuss to act with me. Nayanthara, Tamannaah, Aishwarya, Lakshmi Menon, and Nandita are all professionals.”
Speaking about Rekka, in which he plays a law student and takes a stylish avatar, he says, “It is a pucca commercial film. I get into a predicament when I try to solve a problem and it goes on.”
The Pannaiyarum Padminiyum actor was seen making a style statement in veshti, recently. “Is there anything wrong in wearing the traditional attire of Tamilians?” he laughs. “I have even endorsed a dhoti brand,” he adds.
For Sethupathi, who has thrashed the stereotypical image of heroes in commercial cinema, his role Sumar Moonji Kumar from Idharkkuthaane Aasai Pattai Balakumara is pretty close to his heart — “I don’t know if I will ever get a role like that in my career. It was a revelation and I shed all my inhibitions. The movie has given me the confidence to handle any kind of role in the future.”
Talking about the video he made on the ongoing Cauvery issue, he opines, “Yes, I expressed my feelings. Let the problem be anything, the public getting beaten up and hurt was unacceptable for me. Each one has a family and one should think about them. That was my concern.”
Does he believe in God? “I do visit temples if someone insists. I respect everyone’s religious beliefs. But all said and done, when someone is in trouble, it is the fellow people who come to the rescue. One should also respect each other,” he signs off with a smile.