Battle lines among the fans of top Kollywood stars are firmly drawn, with criticism from one side eliciting strong responses from the other. Vijay Sethupathi, however, is among the few actors who is loved across the board. After a long struggle in the industry during which he did insubstantial roles, the actor has managed to make a mark for himself thanks to his patience and hard work.
Ahead of the release of Kavan, his upcoming film, and back-to-back overseas trips to Malayasia and Dubai, The News Minute caught up with Vijay Sethupathi for a brief chat.
How did you prepare for your role as a journalist in Kavan?
I didn't have to do any preparation for the role. I went by what my director KV Anand said. I really like his films like Ko and Ayan, and it's a moment of great pride to be associated with him and a big production house like AGS. In general, I derive all the energy and drive from my directors and unit members, in any film that I do. That's why I'm able to work on back to back films, year after year, with undying enthusiasm.
Your second production venture, Merku Thodarchi Malai, is already doing its rounds in the film festival circuit. What's the plan on this front?
There isn't any plan as such with my production house. We wish to do 'close to heart' films, that's the motto. Our first film, Orange Mittai didn't do well commercially and was a loss-making venture. We have to set those things right with the second film and we are planning a proper release date. It will come out this year surely.
So, are you doing a film with Cheran, as rumored? And what's the status of Vada Chennai?
Yes, I am doing a film with Cheran sir, as I liked what he narrated. I'm also very excited about doing 96 with Trisha. But, I'm not doing any role in Vada Chennai due to date issues.
Your son had a cameo in Naanum Rowdy Dhaan. Will he continue to act?
As a father, I have to raise him well. I keep advising him to not lose his childishness, and get sucked into cinema this soon. I would actually be happy if he decides to become a school teacher, and not an actor; he can enjoy his life with ample free time.
An actor's life is not exciting, and I'm experiencing that daily. Life is not just about success and chasing success. Whether you are happy or not is the key. I should teach my kid what life is. I keep telling him to enjoy the small pleasures of life (like puppies fighting), even if that means going late to school.
With such a busy shooting schedule, are you getting to spend time with family?
It's hard, no other go. I keep in touch on the phone. But during the time when I was struggling to find a route into cinema - giving my photos to various production houses - I used to give an impression of being busy, by going home late after 10:30 pm. I was really free then, playing badminton with friends, but didn't want my family to think that I was jobless by going home early.
Of late, a few female actors have opened up about "casting couch" in cinema. What is your take on this, based on your experience in the field?
Those actresses are speaking out of their personal experience; no one would get into needless blame games. But women everywhere are facing such sexual harassment; even small girl children are being molested. Women are the foundation of everything. They give birth to us and none of us can live without our mothers. It's a feeling and can't be taught or force-fed! It's disgusting to see some men with such a corrupt thought processes.
Vijay Sethupathi has a busy year ahead. His upcoming films include Karuppan, Vikram Vedha and Aneedhi Kadhaigal. His long-pending Puriyaatha Puthir and Idam Porul Yaeval should also hopefully see the light of day soon.