Saturday 23 September 2017 News Updated at 03:09 AM IST
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Setting the screen ablaze in style - Deccan Herald
Setting the screen ablaze in style
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favourite Actor Vijay Sethupathi

It is not without reason that his fans call him 'Makkal Selvan’. The title, when loosely translated, means 'Man of the Masses’. It is an honour that many in the Tamil film industry feel is apt for Vijay Sethupathi, one of Tamil cinema’s most sought-after stars today.

Vijay’s story is nothing less than inspirational. The man, after beginning his career as an accountant and playing minor roles for about five years, broke on to the scene only in 2010 with Seenu Ramasamy’s Thenmerkku Paruvakaatru in which he played the lead role. The film was critically acclaimed and won a National Award. The next four films that he did as a hero were all super hits. Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom, Pizza, Soodhu Kavvum and Idharkku Thaane Aasaipattai Balakumara announced to the world that a star had arrived in the Tamil film industry. With a hit rate of over 90% in the last two years, Vijay has clearly emerged as one of the most popular stars of the Tamil film industry.

Unlike most other top stars who have one or two releases in a year at the most, Vijay has had anywhere between four to six releases in a year. Almost every film that the actor has been a part of has either been a hit, a super hit or a blockbuster. What’s more, most of them have been critically acclaimed too. From Naanum Rowdy Dhaan to Sethupathi to Kadhalum Kadandu Pogum to Iraivi to Dharma Durai to Aandavan Kattalai to Kavan and more recently, Vikram Vedha, Vijay has been delivering hit after hit.

In an exclusive interview with Sunday Herald, Vijay opens up on his just-released film Puriyaatha Puthir and the yet-to-release Karuppan and 96. Edited excerpts follow...

'Puriyaatha Puthir’ is a crime thriller. Is the story of this film based on a real-life incident?

No. It is a film that talks about the lengths a man will go to protect the honour of the woman he loves. It focuses on the disturbing trend of obscene videos being posted on the Internet and the manner in which such crimes affect the lives of some innocent individuals. The story of this film provided a lot of scope for making it in a glamorous fashion. However, Ranjith Jeyakodi has, with a lot of responsibility and integrity, shot this entire film in a dignified manner. There is not a single scene in this film that you can term vulgar. You can go and watch this film with your entire family. The crime shown in the film will, in fact, scare you.

Tell us about your experience working with actor Gayathri.

Gayathri is a very sincere artiste and a brilliant actor. She pays attention to even small details and does her work correctly. In cinema, success depends on a number of factors, including luck. Had that been on her side, she would have been one of the top stars today because she has so much talent. In this film, she has come up with an exemplary performance and this film highlights her acting skills. Thanks to her acting, there are several layers of messages in each scene in this film.

You seem to be such good friends with Ranjit Jeyakodi, the film’s director...

Ranjit got introduced to me as a director and I soon realised that he was a damn good film-maker. I sincerely believe that if a person like Ranjit makes a film, it will be deep. Be it Tamil or English, his proficiency is just brilliant. The dialogues in this film are very deep too.

In fact, there is a dialogue in this film where I say, 'Is there no woman in your household?’ It might come across as a simple question but the meaning that it brings in the context of the situation is humongous. If there were no women in our lives, we would have been roaming around as wastrels. Every man’s actions are kept in check until a point by his mother, then by his sisters, then by his wife, and at one point, by his daughters.

Tell us about 'Karuppan’.

Karuppan has been directed by Panneerselvam, the man who made Renigunta. It has Tanya Ravichandran playing the female lead. I like Pannerseelvam’s patience, honesty and integrity. I started trying to get into cinema from 2004, but managed to become a hero only in 2010. Even I crib about at least 50 people who I met during those years. But Panneerselvam, who has had to wait for almost eight years after delivering a hit like Renigunta for his next film, never complained even once in all the days we worked together. I waited patiently that one day he would open up and talk about how he had been wronged and how much he had suffered. But the man never spoke ill about anybody. This film is a commercial one and he has made it beautifully. It is a simple love story between a husband and wife. It showcases how love doubles in strength when put to test.

What is '96’ all about?

I am shooting for the film at the moment. The title '96’ refers to the batch of 96. This story is about a middle-aged man, he is about 36 to 37 years old. In reality, people tend to be super excited in their teens. As a result of the excitement, they are highly indecisive. They have difficult decisions to make as they are unsure of what they should choose to study, where they should work, what they should become, or who they should marry. But by the time one reaches late 30s and early 40s, life has, through its tough lessons, sobered and calmed you down.

You are now in a more balanced state of mind. Normally, men in this age group are married people who have children. Their only priority in life is to provide for their children and bring them up well. However, this film’s story is about love that blossoms in a man’s life in his middle age. It comes at a time when life, through pain, trials and tribulations, has taught him what it is all about. He goes on to achieve all that at that age. It’s a fascinating script.