To call Vikram a phenomenal actor is an understatement! The 50-year-old actor has been in the industry for over 20 years, and continues to pick films that excite and surprise audiences. As an actor, he exudes warmth. Lots of it. Believing that nothing is impossible, ‘Chiyaan’ challenges himself to do bigger and better roles in Telugu, Hindi and Malayalam films. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that his acting and the quality of movies he picks have been improving with age. With Iru Mugan releasing today, he sits down with CE for a chat. Excerpts follow…
Iru Mugan is releasing today. How do you feel?
I sign every film to present something new to the audience, which they have never seen before. The idea is to make a project on a vast scale that everyone would love to see. I like to please my audience and I am thrilled to go to the theatres and watch their reactions.
What keeps you going even at 50?
I do a lot in one day. Cinema gives me a high. Everyone has vices and movies are mine. From Class 8, I have been in love with the feeling of being on stage. The transition from Kenny to Vikram happened at that age. I still remember how happy I was…it was wonderful. I pursued my dreams relentlessly and now, I am here.
Be it Anniyan (2005), I (2015) or Iru Mugan, you seemed to be attracted to duality and layered characters, Why?
Such characters interest me a lot and I think I am more of an Iru Mugan in real life too. I am Kenny at home and Vikram on sets (grins). Also, I love experimenting with powerful, contrasting, layered and varied roles.
What made you say ‘yes’ to Iru Mugan, considering that Anand Shankar is just one film old?
I saw his first film Arima Nambi (2014) and couldn’t believe that was his debut project. I asked Anand if he could work on another story for me. A month later, he brought me a script. He’s an amazing storyteller. Besides the subject, it was the portrayal of characters that made me accept the project. It was quite unconventional and challenging. I gave my 300% and pushed myself to the maximum as an actor and as an individual. Every day was an experience for me.
There’ve been hits and flops in your career. When a film fails at the BO, how do you feel?
My career sums up the decisions I have made as an actor. It has been like a ladder, because, perhaps, all of this is self-taught. I don’t let success go to my head, nor do I let failure affect me.
What have you learnt from the tinsel town?
Two lessons. One, never let setbacks stop you and two, everyone is dispensable. I have learnt to survive here and I have the ability to manoeuvre it the way I want. I never take my work for granted ever.
Which aspect of Tamil cinema needs improvisation?
There’s immense potential, but I feel there’s a dearth of quality scripts in Tamil cinema. We need more script writers. There should be bound scripts and detailed budgets to start a project. There are many budding writers with interesting scripts but they do not get a chance to break into a good banners. This has to change.
Would you like to direct a movie some day?
Definitely yes, but not now. Ten years later, maybe? There is a serious shortage of writers as I said. If I am directing my first film, I need to look for a super-awesome-dedicated writer. And before you ask me if I’ll be cast in it, the answer is ‘no’ (Laughs)
You’ve done a lot of masala films in your career. Don’t you want to act in a full-on art venture?
I am a greedy actor and have never believed in doing films in a hurry. At the same time, I want my producers, directors and distributors to be content. I don’t know, maybe I think I set a format for myself, which I am finding hard to break. Having said that, I am not in my comfort zone either. If something interests me, I’d do a film like Deiva Thirumagal (2011) again! But there are a very few, who’d like to see me doing such roles, I guess. Still people see me as Kaasi, Sethu, Saamy, and Gemini. I don’t want to disppoint anybody. I am nothing without my fans.
Who are your favourite directors/actors in the industry?
I am a director’s actor. What I am today is because of the directors, who have made some fabulous scripts for me. Take Mani Ratnam, Bala or Shankar — they are trendsetters. As far as actors are concerned, I am a big fan of both Rajinikanth sir and Kamal Haasan sir. I learnt acting from Kamal, and style from Superstar.
source the new india express