From a menacing ‘Sudalai’ who is a psychopath killing people at the drop of a hat in Mahesh Babu’s Spyder, SJ Suryah has transformed into a contrasting role as he plays a soft-spoken submissive ‘Anjanam Azhagiya Pillai’ in his upcoming flick Monster. At a time his films were getting delayed for one reason or the other, Amitabh Bachchan’s encouraging words gave him a lot of assurance, says Suryah.
To be seen in a movie in which he has to fight a rat, the actor explained hilariously how he shot for the film with only the rat as his co-star for 25 days. “One day I got a call from Prabhu of Potential Studios saying that he is sending Nelson Venkadesan to narrate a story. As they had delivered blockbuster films like Maya and Maanagaram thought the new script also would be something intriguing. No sooner Nelson met me than he said that my my costar in the film is predominantly a rat and that the film is about an amusing encounter between the lead actor and the Monster (rat). I didn’t know how to react,” the actor and filmmaker explained.
“While I was thinking it would be a fantasy subject where the rat will do superhero deeds, Nelson breaks in and says, ‘no’ here an eli (rat) is the rat and it will not do what humans do. There’s no name for the rat character and it will be as realistic as to how you are troubled by the presence of a rat in your household. There won’t be even a single shot in computer graphics.”
Suryah essays a middle class engineer who works in the Electricity Board and the film is about how he buys a flat after he gets engaged to Mekhala played by Priya Bhavani Shankar and the presence of the rat which makes his life difficult.
“I loved the choice of my name in the film — Anjanam Azhagiya Pillai, which itself gives an identity to my character. Romance has worked out so well. I would say, though not sizzling, it’s a poetic chemistry.”
The new director says it was an unforgettable experience working with a rat. “The director submitted the full script with shot division to Animal Welfare Board much in advance for an NOC. As per their guidance, we chose a ‘licensed rat’ from a trainer for the shoot. Then a doctor’s certificate was obtained for the rat’s fitness. Three people from trainer Snake Ravi’s team and one supervisor from AWB were there on every day of the shoot with the rat. We gave a separate cabin, A/C, water and special food for the rat. And on top of it, imagine I have to act according to the mood of the rat.”
After I acted in this film, there is a lot of positive vibration. “I was worried some of my films like Nenjam Marappadhillai and Iravaa Kaalam were overdue for release. I was shooting for the Tamil-Hindi bilingual film with Amitabh sir. In a scene, he applied ‘Thilak’ on my forehead and within a few minutes, Nelson told me that Monster is scheduled to release on May 17. In fact, Amitabh sir enjoyed and appreciated that I chose a film like Monster.”
Though he has given several hits like Kushi, Vaali and New, he is not keen to make sequels. “They should remain evergreen as they are.” Among his heroines as his pair he rates Simran as number one, Nila as number two and Priya Bhavani Shankar as number three....