He may seem quiet and reserved. But when he appears on-screen, Ilayathalapathy Vijay is a livewire — dancing as best as he can, performing daredevil stunts as we watch in stupor and making us laugh like there’s no tomorrow. When Vijay consented to be Guest Editor for the Chennai Times 4th anniversary issue, the office got buzzing. Post patiently posing for photographs with everyone, the actor spent a few hours with the Chennai Times team, answering questions and posing some of his own. Vijay spoke about cinema, cricket and more cinema! Here are some excerpts from the candid interaction:
Did you always want to do ‘mass’ films?
Usually, actors start off with romantic films and then go to mass. But in my case, it was the opposite. After a lot of romantic films in the middle of my filmi career, I went the mass way. Being a mass hero has a separate ‘feel’ to it!
Who is your competitor? It’s said that Rajini-Kamal, Vijay-Ajith and Vikram-Suriya are rivals…
Ajith visits me often and I go to his house frequently as well. Our children go to the same playschool; that’s one more common link we share. It’s only in films that there’s a small ‘neeya nana’ between the two of us. But I’m of the opinion that it should exist — healthy competition is always good, isn’t it?
Any movie you wish you had done?
One film that I’ve dearly missed doing is Dhool. Director Dharani had given me a script narration but I didn’t take it further. When I saw the film after it released, it was brilliant. I told Dharani, ‘This wasn’t the script you narrated!’ The commercial ingredients fell in place perfectly in that film.
Any one you want to work with?
I have always had the desire to work with big directors but it’s all a question of coming together. Fortunately for me, it has happened now.
What genre are you comfortable with?
I’m most comfortable with romance and comedy. But these days, I ensure that my films have a generous dose of all the elements needed for commercial cinema.
You sing and have even had some big hit numbers like Appudi Podu…
When I heard Appudi Podu… the first time, I didn’t expect it to be such a big hit. We plan a lot of things at times and then the audience ends up liking some other things! Some things are beyond us, I guess. (Smiles)
Tell us a little about Thuppaki
I’ve had very few mass films that are stylish in nature as well. Director Murugadoss’ Thuppaki is one such film; an out-and-out action entertainer that has some brilliant sequences. He’s a ‘kutti Mani Ratnam’! Despite not knowing the language, Kajal, my heroine, has done a good job in a performance-oriented role. Vidyut, the villain in Thuppaki, has done a great job as well. In fact, he looks like the hero of the film! I’m trying to match my physique with his but it’s proving to be tough. (Laughs)
Singing in Thuppaki…
I take personal interest in the music and songs in my films. Recently, when he was recording for Thuppaki, composer Harris Jayaraj called me to his studio and wanted me to try out a rap number. I sang it and everyone felt that it had come out well. It’s an easy song; something that anyone can hum.
Are you a cricket buff?
My son is a cricket freak — he now says that he wants to be a cricketer! I accompanied him for the first IPL match and we saw some CCL matches together too. In fact, he is learning cricket now.
How do you ‘chillax’?
I go out often to watch films in a city multiplex. That’s how I chill out when I’m in the city. Else, I frequent my friends’ homes. In Mumbai, where I am shooting for Thuppaki, I got a chance to go out and do things like everyone else. It felt nice.
Your focus is movies but are you happy with the political environment today?
The road ahead?
After Thuppaki, I have Yohan: Adhyayam Ondru with director Gautham Menon that’s a spy thriller. Then, I have a project lined up with director Vijay.
FAVE PLACES IN CHENNAI
• Loyola College campus
• ECR Road
• My home
CHENNAI TIMES TURNS 4
I’m a big fan of Chennai Times and the city edition of the newspaper. Even things that we friends discuss are based on what we read in TOI.