When Dulquer Salmaan took to his Facebook page to announce that Gopi Sundar was foraying into territories unknown by deciding to play the lead in a film Toll Gate, it was met with a mixed response. Some wondered why Gopi, with his looks, had waited so long to take the leap while others wondered why he was jumping into a territory he knew nothing about. Gopi himself, already busy with his music composing work in Mollywood and Tollywood, took a long time to be convinced of the need to play the lead and it is all thanks to the single-minded pursuit of director Harikrishnan. This is a story of persistence and a never-say-die attitude that paid off in the end.
Gopi explains the rest, “Harikrishnan came to my office one day and spoke to me about the film. I initially thought it must be for the music composition. But no, he wanted me to act too!” A surprised Gopi immediately said a firm ‘no’ and with good reason, “I don’t know to act and the only time I have been on screen, I have played myself,” he says. So Gopi rejected the acting opportunity and said he will go ahead with the music composition part. But Harikrishnan was adamant that Gopi himself play the lead since he could not think of anybody else better suited. Equally adamant and firm was Gopi in his denial to not get into a field he knew nothing about.
It was then that Harikrishnan’s emotions got the better of him as Gopi reveals, “He cried and those tears completely floored me! Here was someone who wanted me to be the lead in his film so badly that he was shedding tears and I could not stand to see that. It was the first time somebody had cried in front of me and so I agreed to act in the lead role,” he finishes. Though Gopi is still unsure of how good his acting abilities are, he has put the ball into the director’s court. “I have assured Harikrishnan that I will do the job to the best of my abilities but that he has to be the one to extract a performance from me. I have belief in his dedication and passion towards his craft,” he says.
What attracted Gopi to the project were not only the tears that were shed, but also the story, “It is a real-life story but I am not at liberty to reveal anything more. What I personally liked was the treatment accorded — the film is not made in a dramatic manner but has been kept very real,” he confides. Though he is playing the lead, Gopi is very sure that acting will never be his primary profession, “I do not like acting! In fact, what is good about this project is that I did not have to allocate too many dates that will affect my music composition — not only for this project but also for my other ones too,” he adds. At the end of the day, he states, “Nothing should affect my music!” Indeed Gopi’s music is what has brought him fame and he is presently busy with composing for five Telugu projects but says, “Malayalam is where my heart lies.”