TNM caught up with Kollywood actor 'Jayam' Ravi ahead of his next big release Adanga Maru. The actor, who has completed 15 years in the Tamil industry, plays the role of a policeman yet again in this movie directed by debutante Karthik Thangavel. The film stars Rashi Khanna as the female lead and has been pegged to be an 'action-thriller'.
With the film set to release on December 21, the actor opens up on his experience of playing a cop once again, problems in the film's release, nepotism in the industry, regrets in his film career and about the one director he really wants to work with.
You play the role of Subash, a policeman from Chennai. How different is this from your previous outings as an officer of the law?
It is going to be completely different. In Thani Oruvan, the hero is a very serious cop. The movie starts at level 100 because he is already investigating cases and he is an Assistant Commissioner of Police. In Bogan, he is a crazy cop and more of an anti-hero kind . But here, Subash is a very honest man who wants to do good for the society. This guy has the purest intentions for the department and he comes in as just an inspector. In this movie, you will see a hero with very limited power. The film shows what happens to him, how the department treats him and the outcome of his experiences. Yes, it is an age old concept, but the way we have presented the movie is completely different.
There are two ways in which you perceive this character, one is before he joins the department and the other is after, where he has a beard, and looks defeated. A lot of emotion had to be portrayed through just my facial expressions and it was very challenging. The second half has very little dialogue and it demanded a lot of emotion from me as the hero.
The teaser describes the female lead Rashi Khanna's character as smart and sarcastic. Does she have a pivotal role in the film?
She definitely has a very good role and is part of the main plot. The script demands screen space for her and she is a good actor. The love that the lead characters share is very mature. She plays the role of an interior designer and they show their relationship from a day before the engagement. They are already in love, families know each other. They are just waiting for the two to settle in their jobs. It is a very practical love story.
Initially, in the emotional scenes when we gave Rashi glycerine, it just wouldn't work on her. When I use it, my eyes become red and won't stop watering. So we thought we'll use chilli powder on her (laughs). But what was really impressive was that in scenes where she needed to cry, she just took a couple of minutes before the shot and then could just naturally cry. Her emotional scenes were very good.
How was it working with debut director like Karthik Thangavel?
Actually I have known him for a long time now. His first film as assistant director had me in the lead. He was AD in director Saran's Idhaya Thirudan. His first clap was my shot. It was a really good experience because we both have no ego and just want what is best for the film. When I was a newcomer, people encouraged me. Now I am in a position in the industry where I can help people. Newcomers have worked wonders for me. Romeo Juliet and Boologam were made by a newcomers.
Any scene in Adanga Maru that the audience can really look forward to?
There is a sequence in the second half - an interrogation scene. This will definitely be the highlight of the movie. We even had rehearsals for it. Just like how in Thani Oruvan, the scene where he proposes to Nayantara has several layers, here too the sequence will be gripping. I had the opportunity to act with some really good actors like Sampath sir, Munish Khan and Ramdas from Mundasupatti. They all elevated the whole sequence.
There has been a lot of controversy in Kollywood over release dates and some movie getting more time to shine than others.
Earlier, many movies used to release on the same day. Producers used to talk it out amongst themselves in a friendly manner. But now there are efforts to regularise the process, so everybody will naturally become selfish. There is no other go. We can't blame the Producers Council. But this regularisation must apply to everybody. Not everyone is ready to listen to the Council. Some movies get a good one week gap after release, and others don't. Earlier on Pongal or Deepavali, 10 movies used to release but this is not the case now. If the Council wants to control the release, then they rules have to be very strict. We are still in a flux because this system is new and we are hoping it will settle down.
Will your 25th movie be Thani Oruvan 2 with your brother Raja?
I am not sure if it will be my 25th film. It is not finalised yet as we both have prior commitments to complete. But I would love to achieve this milestone with him since he introduced me to the film industry. I wish that 25, 50 and 100 will all be with him. The script is nearly ready. As far as my brother has narrated things to me, it is outstanding . Hopefully we will start working on it next year.
Will Arvind Swami make a come back in the second installment?
I would love to have him back. But everyone should expect something else in Part 2. The first movie was different because the antagonist was such a powerful character. If you want the same thing to happen in Part 2, it will become monotonous. But we are hoping to retain characters.
Nepotism in the film industry is being widely spoken about across the country. You were launched by your family too. What are your views on this?
I don't relate to this topic at all but I will tell you my point of view. Earlier, entry was very difficult into the industry. To sustain was easy. But now, entry has become very easy, anybody can act in a movie but to sustain has become very difficult because of the existing talent. How many producers' sons or actors' sons have sustained in the industry? If you don't have the talent or individuality, you can't sustain. We have been showcasing talent from outside the industry as well. The Tamil industry is one of the toughest industries to survive in, so you need to be talented. You can launch a hero, you can relaunch but you need to sustain. You can't force movie-goers to like you.
You have been in the industry for 15 years now, how has your journey been?
It has been a beautiful experience. When I was doing Jayam I only thought that I need to satisfy one person in my life - that is my father, who was the producer of the film. That was my only intention then. He is investing so much in me, so I have to be responsible enough to deliver. Now, I have lakhs of people who wait to watch my films. So that responsibility has gone to another level. I've learnt through these years to do any film like it is your first.
What do you consider to be your biggest achievements and regrets?
One thing the audience gave me is the boy next door image. That is like an award for me. The next was, treating me like someone from their family - they could identify with my role in movies like Santosh Subramanian and M Kumaran. Next came their belief that I am a socially responsible actor. Films like Peranmai, Thani Oruvan and Boologam all had social messages. These are my milestones.
My regret will be that I have missed many good films. Two that I remember are a Gautham Menon movie and a KV Anand film. I don't want to name them but they went on to become huge hits. When Gautham Menon came to me with the script, I was in the Peranmai look with a moustache but he wanted another look. There were date issues and I couldn't take it up.
What is the next film you are working on?
I am currently shooting for an untitled film (24th film) with a new director, Pradeep. It is going to be a fun film with a novel take on life. I have four looks in the film and I have lost 18 kilos for the part. Kajal Aggarwal and Samyukta Hegde are also part of the film. Yogi Babu plays the role of my friend and is present throughout the film. It was just awesome acting with him and we could keep talking on the sets as if we've known each other forever. After a long time I am doing a really fun movie.
Who is the one director that you really want to work with?
Definitely Mani Ratnam. I am ready to do any film that he offers me. I have grown up watching his movies and my knowledge of films has widened because of him. He is a director who has stayed in the industry for 38 years and is still delivering. When Alaipayuthey was first released, it really set a trend for mature love stories. For someone to make such a movie, he really has to think like his lead character and Mani Ratnam is someone who does so.