‘Versatility' is the middle name for Chiyaan Vikram. The actor who goes to any extent to suit the character he portrays is at it again. With a beefed up body and sporting salt-n-pepper hair, he looks as menacing as a man on a mission should be in his upcoming film Kadaram Kondan.
In a freewheeling interview with DC, the actor speaks about why he chose to launch his son Dhruv in the Arjun Reddy remake, his ‘tarak’ mantra on hits and misses, confirms his role in Mani Ratnam’s magnum opus Ponniyin Selvan and why age doesn’t matter to an actor (at least to him) even as he spills beans about his film where he plays a 23-year-old.
From the trailer of Kadaram Kondan we could make out Vikram’s is a layered character with shades. “Yes it is very interesting premise. I have tried out a different type of looks. KK is stylish and he hardly speaks. He is very controlled and very grey. I wanted salt -n- pepper looks. He is a cop and I don’t have a pair in the film. It’s very international.” He adds quickly, “Kamal sir has been a huge inspiration for me and I signed KK the moment I heard that it is being bankrolled by Kamal sir.”
What about the similarity in looks with his long pending Dhruva Natchathiram. “DT is also stylish and my John character is uber-cool. His speech is always laced with comical notes and you would laugh whenever he speaks. He will sneer”.
What’s KK’s mission in the film? “I don’t know! I can’t reveal much. In other films, there will be different costumes, looks and locations and time frame for a particular scene. In KK, everything happens in two days time. It was challenging. I will be in the same look and costume. The entire film was shot in 55 days time. We were shooting the same sequence throughout and what we shot here initially will be shot in the exterior on the 50th day. At times, it was very difficult. The continuity is very important — it is not only the costume continuity — here the way you look, the emotions, the character graph, the travel, you need to know the exact feel which makes you all the more conscious. You can’t just go and act.”
So how does he feel when much anticipated movies like Dhruva Natchathiran gets delayed? “My main problem is that considering that I am an actor who does different looks for each movie and am very specific about it, if a movie gets delayed I can’t stay in that particular look. I did in one film where I waited for 3 ½ years for the release. I know it was so stupid on my part to wait so long and also doing injustice to my fans and audiences who want to see me on screen.
Now, I have decided that if a movie gets delayed, I just continue my other work and manage and allot dates when they want, without compromising. I know it is very tricky (smiles).
Does age matter for an actor? “I don’t think age matters to an actor as long as you have the energy to shoot and shooting is not an easy thing. As you grow, you can do age based roles and experiment a lot. What I did in Sketch was to play a much younger character that I should have been playing now. But it was okay and it suited me also.” With a wink he adds, “You know, I am essaying a 23-year-old in one of my forthcoming films. But sorry, it is too early to divulge anything about it now.”
Talking about Dhruv who is making his debut with Adithya Varma, a remake of sleeper hit Arjun Reddy, his eyes glow. “He has been very natural and right from young age he used to mimic me and act out my scenes. I think it is genetic. It is like a magician son who just picks up his dad’s traits and most of the time a doctor’s son or daughter will be proficient in medicine. Similarly, Dhruv and even my daughter act very well. Both of them sing and they are gifted.”
Perhaps that helped Chiyaan to identify his son’s aptitude. “So, I didn’t want him to pursue regular college. We wanted him to learn something which interests him and sent him to UK and he did filmmaking course for a year, and then a two-year course in method acting. He loved it so much that he never wanted to come here when the Arjun Reddy remake offer came. He said, ‘Appa I have six month’s more to complete’. I told him that it is a very good film. I asked if he had seen the movie, he said ‘No pa. I am doing it since you want me to do it. But on one condition! I will have to come back after the shoot and complete the course’. And because we had this problem with Varma, he went back and finished his course. That was the kind of passion he has for acting”.
The national award winner says that Dhruv has a natural flair for acting. “In front of the camera he is very natural. And we all know Arjun Reddy is a cult film. Vijay Devarakonda and Shahid Kapoor interpreted in their own ways. Now Dhruv has decoded in his own way. There will be marked difference between all three performances. With due respect to the film, AR is an amazing flick. A coming of age subject. I think Dhruv has done beautifully. I know acting wise he would do well. My surprise was I did not realise dubbing comes so easily to him. He astonished me by completing the dubbing in three days. In fact he suggested different ways to emote while dubbing.
I feel so proud to see him doing such stuff. I am confident bright things await him. It is just I have wait and see what kind of films he wants to choose. I don’t know if he wants to go my way. I want to give him the freedom to choose what he wants to do. I feel he is thinking to take Tamil cinema to world stage. That’s what he always dreams of. He has got an amazing memory. From start to finish, he was in the character.”
Recalling an incident, the Anniyan star says that Dhruv would be an actor of substance. “I just hosted a get-together at home after the film got over. There’s a guy called Karan who would mimic everyone including me. We all had good laugh. Then we asked him to mimic Dhruv, but he refused. The reason he said was, ‘I could not see Dhruv anywhere throughout the shooting. He was only Aditya Varma.’ It was the happiest moment for me. I am sure Dhruv will become an actor of repute.”
What’s beyond acting, we ask “ Hmmm..I want to direct one day. Will see!” No matter what, hits and misses are not in our hands, he asserts. “We are not gods. We don’t know what will work and what will not work. Sometimes, it may not turnout the way you expected. My ‘tarak’ mantra is ‘Success should not go to your head and failure should not go to your heart’. I do agree sometimes, it does affect somewhere, but it does not mean that you stop what you want to do. After all, acting is your passion. I am not doing films for money. I am doing films for love for the art. Like in Kadaram Kodan, I have put everything in it and Kamal sir has seen it and loved it. Whoever has seen KK raves about it and I hope it will go well with the audiences.”
Confirming his collaboration with Mani Ratnam again he said, “Very excited to work in the epic film Ponniyin Selvan and teaming up with Mani sir once again. I am essaying Aditya Karikalan, a very crucial character. Then there’s a trilingual action thriller with Ajay Gnanamuth. Due to date issues, Mahavir Karna is pushed to a later date.”...