People always expect me to do something spectacular: Vikram
It’s no secret that actor Vikram loves to experi ment with his looks and doesn’t settle for anything run-of-the-mill either. His calendar is chock-a-block, with him busy promoting his upcoming movie that has Nayanthara as the heroine, but as promised, the actor takes out time for a tête-à-tête with us. He has one request, though: “Please call me Chiyaan, not Vikram.“ Right then, over to you, Chiyaan…
So, why this preference for being called Chiyaan, suddenly?
How to explain this? In the classic film Server Sundaram, after Nagesh sir becomes something else, he still holds his server uniform close to his heart as a memento. Chiyaan is something like that to me. On December 10, 1999, Sethu was released. It changed my life and gave me a new beginning. In those days, people only used to call me Chiyaan -nobody addressed me as Vikram. My family calls me Kenny , and my fans, Chiyaan… so, that name is close to my heart. Today , if somebody addresses me as Vikram, I feel there’s a distance. Even in film credits, I would henceforth like to be called Chiyaan -this is my longtime wish.
Iru Mugan’s trailer has raised a few eyebrows. Your second look suggests you are playing a gay character…
I portray two different characters in this film. One of the roles has me in a negative shade… his name is Love.This is not a twin brothers, or father and-son duo kind of story -so, it is actually two different roles that I essay. I love to play the villain on screen. Even if I am offered a nega tive character in some other actor’s project, I will take it up, provided the character is given enough scope to perform. But there’s noth ing like playing a baddie in your own film, where you are pitched against yourself ! I have never been seen as two different persons in a single frame before. In this film, I will appear as two different persons in one frame. Love is neither gay nor transgender -he’s something beyond that. Only when the audience watch the film, will they be able to know. Love is such a mysterious character… you can’t predict what he’ll do. When Anand Shankar (director) narrated the story , I really liked the villain’s character. It is as powerful as the hero’s. Anand is a fine storyteller and so, this film has an interesting storyline, told in a different way .
You and Nayan share a sizzling chemistry in this project…
I think it is because we have never worked together earlier and it is a fresh combination.Even the director used to say that if we stand together in a frame, there’s sparkling chemistry between us.
The song, Halena, will actually celebrate the chemistry between us.
Do you choose these `unusual’ roles consciously?
I loved my role in 10 Endrathulkulla, and he was a `normal’ guy , if you prefer that word. But I feel that people expect me to do something spectacular. I don’t run after those kind of roles, or make a conscious effort. But I like to do memorable characters, backed by brilliant scripts. My roles in I, Pithamagan or Anniyan have worked well for me. It’s like, for instance, if you cast Prabhudheva in a film and say that the film doesn’t have any dance sequences, or have Arjun in a film without stunts -will the audiences like it? I am known for something -my performances, different looks and acting. And clearly ,I am attracted to those largerthan-life characters that require a lot of background work. So, how do you gear up?
The moment a director nar rates a script to me, I star preparing for the role. I wil brainstorm, and star researching, and will be ready way before the shoot. I ensure that I don’t, even by mistake ape something another actor has done. This is what director Bala taught me, when working on our first film together. I was influenced by many actors a that time, and so, every time I’d act out a scene, he’d tell me to take other actors out of me and be original. That was an important lesson, and till date I ensure I take `Vikram’, and my previous characters out o my system before I don the skin of a new character. These efforts help me evolve as an actor, and keep learning new things every day .
But, sometimes the efforts don’t work at the box office… It is my job to put in the effort.
For instance, even for a regular commercial film like Rajapattai, I worked on my physique. I ate a lot to put on weight for the gym-boy look.No matter what, I make the same effort for all my films. I don’t let success or failure go to my head, or affect my heart.When I am done shooting for my film, I just move on.Wherever I go, people respect me for all the efforts that I have taken so far, in all my previous films. This respect is bigger than anything else.
Do you have any plans to direct a film?
None, right now, I have so much more to accomplish in acting.
You are teaming up with Hari for Saamy 2 again…
It’s not a forced sequel. We decided that if some outstanding script develops, we will work together. Saamy 2 is one such script. I will be playing a cop who has grey shades. The project will kick-start only in February . I will start shooting for Garuda, with Thiru next.
Your daughter got engaged recently. Have the wedding preparations begun?
I have always kept my person al life away from the limelight, but somehow this news came out. But to answer your ques tion, the marriage will happen only after two years.