Interviewer: Inian | Camera: Hemananth.B & P. Ganesh Babu | Text: Arun
Ravikrishna, the first thing that comes to mind is 7/G Rainbow Colony, a dream debut. But the fortune that followed was not too good and many people were even willing to write him off as a one film wonder who cannot act. But, nearly 5 years after 7/G, Ravikrishna has proved that he has got the right stuff in him with Kadhalna Summa Illa. Talking to him about career, movies and his plans for the future, one discovers that this is not the kind of boy that we saw in 7/G. Here is someone who thinks in depth about what he does as he reveals his well drafted plans for the future which reveal that we may see him as a director in the years ahead. Read to find out more about Ravikrishna

BW: About the success of Kadhalna Summa Illa

Ravikrishna: It definitely feels good that this Pongal among some big films my movie is doing well, there was a Vijay starrer and a Dhanush starrer. The audience response has been heartening, they are enjoying the film in theaters. The response from B and C centers has also been good. There has always been talk that my movies have never been able to reach the level of 7/G Rainbow Colony. But now, they are appreciating my effort and I am getting lots of phone calls. Even the media and film critics have appreciated my performance, some said that they did not expect a performance like this from me. So, the result has been definitely above my expectations.

Why are there not more characters like Vettivel?

It is not a matter of delay, (gives a metaphor) too many sweets can make you feel uneasy. Such a character cannot happen in every film. Such a character can be seen next in Thillalangidi, there are a few things from that character that I used in Kadhalna Summa Illa. Now, I am doing Aaranya kandam where I have to underplay a bit. Vettivel, the reason it was liked by many people is the body language, the normally used slang which was placed at many spots in the film. The dialogue writer Shekhar Gopal and myself worked round the clock for around 6-8 months. He used to work on the script during the day and give the inputs to me at night on which I worked overnight and gave my feedback, this went on for a long time. The thing that I realized during Kadhalna Summa Illa is the difference between me and other stars. Most of them have a method of preparation to get into the character and improvise on the spot. I am usually very relaxed at the shooting spot, at all other times I am a bit occupied with the script. This work on the script made it very easy for me on the spot. During this movie I did not have to give as much effort during shoots as compared to other films. Even during breaks in the shooting I was very much the character, playing pranks on everyone.


was first offered

to me around

2 years back

Nandhalala first came to you, how do you feel about it?

Nandhalala was first offered to me around 2 years back, then the circumstances were different and I couldn’t take it up. Then Mysskin went on to do Anjaathey, now he has acted in Nandhalala. I feel very happy for him because I am not sure how any other actor would have been able to bring out the character. I wish him all the best.

About Aaranya Kandam

First, KumaraThyagaraja narrated the script to me, I instantly liked it. Even my father liked it a lot, he said he would love to produce but he was doubtful about my role as hero. Then finally SPB Charan came along. I have seen many superb scripts slip out of the grasp of my production house because of many problems, especially with stars or other issues. But in Aaranya Kandam the story is the hero. Then there is the director, Charan, Yuvan, the cinematographer, Jackie Shroff and I come only in the end. It is the events in the life of four characters in one day. It is definitely a genre that has not been tried in Tamil cinema. There are quite a few new things that have been tried in the movie. This might set off a trend in this genre.

"It is definitely

a genre

that has not been

tried in

Tamil cinema"

The film has been shot fully in Madras. About the accent you used.

Yes, I have used Madras slang, there is a lot of English that is mixed in Madras Tamil these days. More than dialogues there will be visuals, the film is set almost totally in Royapuram. My assistant told me that even during shooting the film looks good and so he is confident about its success. The thing is that during most films, shooting looks very boring and it is difficult to understand what is going on and Jackie asks me every time to understand what is happening. But he has been able to pick up the proceedings easily and feels that if he is able to understand, the movie will be liked by people.

"Jackie Shroff

never behaved

like a senior

with me"

Jackie Shroff has commended you a lot…

I never expected that I would act with Jackie Shroff. In almost all combination scenes, he has to do all the speaking and I have to keep quiet, I had to express through my eyes, I had to do quite a bit of underplay. At the function, I did not expect that he would say such good things about me. He was very casual and friendly during the shoots, never behaved like a senior to me. There was an incident during the shoots when he saved me from getting hit on the head by a stray flying object. His experience came through in the way he watched every detail on the spot, I learnt a lot from him.

About the heroine of Aaranya Kandam

We are introducing a new face in the movie. Usually, a heroine has two aspects, performance and glamour. I am not sure about the glamour aspect, but her performance is up to the mark. She knows Tamil very well, if she selects the right projects then she definitely has a bright future in Tamil.

How well do the heroine know Tamil?

When I say that she knows Tamil very well, it means that she is able to speak like any other Tamilian. Normally, if you see heroines who come from Bombay or other north Indian places, they have to struggle to pick up the language, but that was not the case with her. I believe that language helps an actor a lot. It is believed that cinema has no language, but as far as an actor is concerned, it helps a lot if you know the language to get the right expressions.

About your upcoming projects

After Kadhalna Summa Illa there have been quite a few offers, but nothing has been finalized. I am still choosing the right ones and will announce soon.

Will your home production house be back in action soon?

Yes, there will be quite a few this year. In my case I plan to do 8-10 projects as an actor. Let’s see how it goes.

Who controls the industry – directors or actors?

Actually it is the audience who control the industry. 2008 is the best example. No single film did well only because of its hero or the director. The audience welcomed new efforts and different subjects. Of course, stars and big directors have good openings, but that is just for 2 days, rest depends on the story and presentation.

Will you do more films under Selvaraghavan?

I have a top 10 list, Mani Rathnam, Shankar, Selvaraghavan, Ameer, Bala etc. You cannot ask them for chances, but if they call me I will definitely accept it. Even last year, Selvaraghavan had talked to dad and hinted about an idea, it might happen.

What will be new in Aaranya Kandam?

The screenplay is tight and taut. The humor will be different, it is not the usual word play or slapstick, there is comedy within the script, in things that the characters do.

Anything else that you want to say to the audience?

What can I say? Avoid piracy. I have heard many people say after watching a film on VCD that the movie is good but they are not able to figure out why it did not do well. The precise reason is that many people watch it on VCDs. Apart from that movies get easily uploaded on the net. Even though there are laws against it, ultimately the decision lies with the audience.

"Many of my co stars

say I should be a

director and that

my brother should

be an actor!"

Will you try direction?

I don’t know. But many of my co stars and others have told me that I should be a director and that my brother should be an actor. Recently, dialogue writer Rajashekhar, cameraman Vincent, Sharvanand, Kamalinee, Tamanna have all told me the same thing. But I have to learn a lot before jumping into direction, it is not as easy as it looks. That’s why I have planned 10 films this year. Most of them will be in Tamil, a couple may be bilinguals in Telugu too. Then I hope to do a couple of Hindi films and then take a year off to do a Masters program in direction and performance in the US. So, the year after the next let’s see if I can get into direction.

Sivaji or Subramniapuram: which do you prefer?

Films that can be enjoyed on screen will be accepted by the audience. Deciding whether you want a movie or not is like selecting a script. There has to be some element that attracts your attention. In our industry, cinema is first a business. So, the first thing that is seen is whether the film can get good business, then the entertainment value is considered. That doesn’t mean that we can have mindless masala elements. It must reach the masses and if we can get a message in it, then it is all the better. Luckily, Kadhalna Summa Illa had all these things going for it.

About Slumdog Millionaire

I have heard a lot about the movie, but I am yet to watch it. Actually, I have not seen many movies of 2008. I had been busy with Kadhalna Summa Illa and Aaranya kadnam. I am taking a week off and then I have to start watching movies, starting with Taare Zameen Par. I have not even watched most of the Tamil films last year. In fact I have set apart entire February for watching movies.

About Rahman getting close to the Oscars

I don’t think the Oscars are a big deal. Hollywood is the industry that started cinema. Most of the tools and facilities that are available to us are about a generation or two old in Hollywood. Even with such limited means we are able to match Hollywood quality to a large extent. The thing that we lack is research and development. If we need a new technology or technique, there is no department that can develop it for us. If we get the same technology as Hollywood, then I think we can easily match their quality.

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