The first look poster of the upcoming film Illayaraja, directed by Madhav Ramadasan surprised many moviegoers — for peering out at the world with a serious expression is Ajay Kumar, better known as Guinness Pakru. The expression on Ajay’s face in the poster had many doing a double take and people were left wondering if it was indeed Pakru himself. Pakru laughs and says, “Even my daughter Deeptha Keerthi did not recognise me instantly and asked me who it was.” He will be playing the lead in the film and that is by no means a small feat for the actor whose small stature did not mean the dreams he dreamt were small. He proved beyond any shadow of doubt that any limitation is just a state of mind and is to be seen as an opportunity to strive more, to accomplish what you seek. Not only acting, he also went on to direct a film starring Jayaram in the lead.
Pakru is very happy with the response to the poster.
“Even I did not expect the first look to shape up so well,” he confides. The fact that he is acting with critically acclaimed director for the first time is the cherry on the cake. He admits that it was the director’s name that had him signing up to play the title role. “The earlier two films of Madhav had attracted a lot of acclaim. I too watched those films and appreciated his craft and became his fan. When I listened to this story, I felt I had to do it because it was so compelling.”
He adds, “I am doing a film after a while and I wanted that to be something of substance, especially when it is a lead role. Like every other actor, I too want my roles to have meat in them and this role is exactly what I was looking for. I have a lot of confidence in the director because I am a director’s actor. He can mould me anyway he wants to.” Since he has been gushing so much about his role, can he explain a little bit about it? Pakru smiles and mischievously says, “Illayaraja means a small king and that title has a huge connection with the story of a common man,” he says enigmatically, refusing to let anything more out of the bag. Pakru though does say that it will be a film totally different from the other two films the director has directed earlier.
Pakru’s next will also have him playing the lead in debutant Renjith’s upcoming film. “That will be a fun movie with lots of comic elements and I will be playing one of the three male leads. It is a big-budget project too,” he says.
He has some other news. He says, “I have finished the script of my film and want to direct it this year itself. I finished writing it four years back and it has lots of humour. But I want to complete my acting assignments and then step into direction,” pausing a moment, he continues, “I need a three-month break while directing a film because I don’t want it to hamper my other commitments.”