Sunday, April 18, 2010
'I'm not leaving Tamil cinema for Hindi'
Since making his acting debut two decades ago, Tamil superstar Vikram has done more path-breaking work than any of his colleagues. After doing blockbusters including Sethu, Dhill, Gemini and Dhool and winning a national award for the role in Pithamagan, Vikram is all set to make his Hindi film debut with Mani Ratnam's Raavan. He spoke to Subhash K Jha:
Are you looking forward to your entry into Hindi cinema?
The work in Mumbai is so exciting. When i saw Rang De Basanti, Lagaan, 3 Idiots and My Name Is Khan, i wanted to be part of them. I wish we could make films like that in Tamil. Most Tamil films are rustic, rural, rugged and violent. Many of them are set in Madurai, which is known to be an aggressive city.
How does it feel to be at the top in Tamil cinema for so long?
I always behave as though every film of mine is the first. And i try doing something different each time. It's like chess for me. I've done very few films. By the time i release one film, my contemporaries complete and release four films. In the year that i had Aparachit, Vijay had six films and Ajith had four.
Tell us about your family life?
My wife Shailaja is a teacher in psychology. She's recently started teaching in a very well known school in Chennai. I discuss my career with her, bounce off ideas. I've also become half a psychologist. My daughter is 12 and my son is eight. My son is totally hooked to cinema. He wants to be an actor. But i'd rather he concentrated on his studies. I'm sure he'll do great in movies some day. I'm also moving towards direction with every movie. It's subliminal. But i am learning on the sets all the time.
Many of your Tamil films have been remade into Hindi, for example Sethu which was Tere Naam in Hindi?
Salman Khan is a good friend and he did a good job. It was based on the Tamil director Bala's own experiences. So i guess the creator's influence was stronger in Tamil. I lost about 16 kg for my character in the second-half when he goes into the mental asylum. I had one chapatti, one egg white and a glass of beetroot juice as my meal for the day every day. I used to walk to the location, which was 16 km away.
Which version of Raavan will you and your family watch first?
That's a domestic dispute right now. Tamil or Hindi is a toss-up. I'm not leaving Tamil cinema for Hindi. I've four films to shoot in Tamil. I've already started my next Tamil film, a psycho-thriller directed by Selvaraghavan where i've three roles. I've a film about a stage actor from the 1930s. I can't do routine films. The acting bug bit me when i was in class 3. My audience has been growing since then. When we were shooting in Orchha no one recognised me and then suddenly my driver asked me if i was the actor from Aparachit. It gives me a kick to be recognised.
How's your Hindi?
Not too good. My co-star Abhishek Bachchan has been helping me with my Hindi lines in Raavan. Abhishek is one of my best friends. I am known to be the prankster. But with Abhishek around i had to withdraw from the brat race.