Suriya is eagerly waiting for the release of 24. The actor, who portrays three characters in the film, says, “We initially wanted Atreya as the title, but later decided on 24.” He plays the hero and the villain, whose name is Atreya.
Talking about director Vikram Kumar, Suriya says, “Vikram had been busy in Tollywood for the last few years. He made two Telugu films, one of them being Manam. We loved the film and producer Gnanavel wanted me to remake Manam in Tamil. But I do not like remakes, so when I met Vikram, I wanted to ask him for a new subject.” says Suriya. As it turned out, Vikram too was not interested in a remake. “Then he narrated the story of 24 for nearly four-and-half hours without a break. I was so impressed and decided to produce it myself,” he adds.
Suriya says that 24 will be a landmark film. “I am not against these typical commercial films where the hero bashes a villain and the goons come from Dubai or somewhere and there are some beautiful songs. I, too, have acted in these and they went on to become blockbusters. But how many of these films remain in your memory? Films like Sankarabh-aranam, Sagara Sanga-mam, Baahubali, Eega, Manam etc, are memorable and one can enjoy them anytime; 24 will also fall in this category,” he says.
“At my age Kamal Haasan sir had done 10 very difficult characters. Compared to that, 24 is not very difficult,” he says, adding that it is at par with a Hollywood film, with a completely Indianised subject.
“I was lucky that I got good technicians; we hired a British make-up person and some of the technicians had earlier worked for Ram Leela, Krrish 3 and Bajirao Mastani. We didn’t compromise on content, it is a completely author-backed film and every character is important,” says Suriya. “Like how Vikram made Manam so that everyone would understand it, he has made this film too in the same fashion," he adds.
The actor, who does a lot of social work, mainly on education with his NGO Agaram, now wants to create awareness on environment. “It all started at my home, with my eight-year-old daughter. One day she told me not to use plastic bags as it harmed the environment. We now use cloth bags at home and we used it even on the sets. I’ve decided to create awareness to protect the environment.”