By Justin Rao
With hits like "Roja" and "Bombay" in the early '90s, Arvind Swamy became a household name but a long sabbatical and almost 20 years later, the actor says he is comfortable if people do not recognise him, as stardom is something he never craved for in the first place.
Arvind was introduced as an actor by filmmaker Mani Ratnam in 1991 with the Tamil film "Thalapathi". The 45-year-old actor rose to prominence with the success of "Roja" (1992), and "Bombay" (1995).
Arvind, whose last Hindi film was "Raja Ko Rani Se Pyaar Ho Gaya" in 2000, took a sabbatical and spent a decade in trying his hand in business.
The actor returned to full-fledged acting with Mani Ratnam's film "Kadal" in 2013 and will be next seen in the Bollywood film "Dear Dad".
"Stardom doesn't appeal to me in any way. Of course, I want people to like my work, but in my mind I've consciously created a line where I don't think of myself as a big star. I don't expect people to know my name. I don't get offended if people don't know me," Arvind told PTI.
"I just want to be myself. I want to act in films and not expect any special treatment. I carry my own bags on sets, I don't have assistants around me. I am very comfortable this way," he added.
Post his stupendous success in the Tamil film industry, Arvind went on to act in Telugu and Malayalam films like "Mounam" and "Devaraagam" apart from starring alongside Juhi Chawla in the 1998 Hindi movie "Saat Rang Ke Sapne" which was produced by megastar Amitabh Bachchan.
Despite getting immense recognition, Arvind wanted to "run away" from the stardom as he was unable to deal with it.
"I was very young when I made my debut, I was almost like a kid getting that kind of success and adulation which was difficult to cope. I just wanted to run away from it. Now I am prepared for it, in the sense that I know what I have been through. I can see it as love from people, but back then I found it stifling."
The actor, who will be seen in a Hindi film after almost 15 years, says he never expected the break to be this long in which he went through several ups and downs in life.
"Honestly, I didn't expect it to be such a long break.
I thought for a few years I would do something, then I decided to single parent my kids and then I had an accident. I went through a rough time physically and it took me a while to recover," he added.
Arvind's upcoming film is a coming of age story, involving 14-year-old Shivam and his 45-year-old father Nitin Swaminathan.
The actor, who is a father of two in real life, said he took up the film as it deals with a slightly complex issue in a simple way.
"The complexity of the situation is something which I have not experienced in real life. It is not a story of a father and a son but the situation they are in.
"The movie is about confessions, conflicts and a journey which will hopefully lead to a resolution. The subject is quite complex but we have made it in a very simple way, not adding any melodrama," Arvind added.
Directed by Tanuj Bhramar, "Dear Dad" is scheduled to release on May 6.