Actor Arya Exclusive Interview

“Where do I hide a girl? In my pocket?” - Arya

Simplest things are sometimes the hardest ones to get hold of. Arya is as simple as he looks and as charming as he is credited to be, yet a tough man to get in touch with, thanks to the five projects that has him running around. Also, I wouldn’t describe him as economical when it comes to talking truth.With Purampokku’s release round the corner, the handsome hunk takes time to share his views…

Not everyone believes in multi-starrers as you do…

Multi-starrers are very healthy and you do not have to campaign for it. People here know it’s healthy. And most importantly, when makers know that actors are open for multi-starrers, it gives them freedom and scope to write stories with a wider canvas. More characters would mean stronger content. Hence, from my side all I have to do is be open to ideas and I think I am.

Take Purampokku for instance. The film is what it is today because of the three heroes. Assume the film only has a protagonist and an antagonist like most films, we wouldn’t have had much to give the audiences to look forward to.

Multi-starrers unlike the general understanding create greater scope and healthy competitions.

Jhananathan’s movies come with a social message… Here he has made a film and titled it Purampokku…

Just to clarify, Jhananathan is calling no one a Purampokku. Purampokku stands for wasteland. He is also a very strong believer of communism and you can see influences of that in his movies. Though he has got strong opinions, he makes sure not to force it down the throats of the audiences. He has his way of packaging his films with the right proportion of commercial elements and the intended message.

Purampokku Engira Podhuvudamai…

Purampokku is a jail drama. It revolves around three central characters - a convict, a cop and a hangman. I play the convict and the best part is I have three death sentences on me. How do you kill a person thrice? That is the kind of subtle satire Jhananathan has dealt with in this film.

Shaam plays a cop and Vijay Sethupathi is the Hangman. So Purampokku deals with the question why – Why this convict and why that cop and hangman in particular are the ones who handle him. Karthika Nair on the other hand is the catalyst.

A Jail drama? Any western influences in the film in particular?

If you mean Shawshank Redemption, definitely not. Purampokku is about these three central characters, how they are interconnected and basically the prison systems. That’s a floor that hasn’t been explored much in our industry. This film accurately displays what happens in prisons.

Sounds very intense… But how much have you given in to commercial compromises?

Entertainment is important. You cannot call it a commercial compromise. Entertainment can be of any type. Songs and separate comedy tracks alone don't make entertainment. Purampokku has its own entertaining elements that go with the flow of the story.

Why watch Purampokku?

-          Firstly, you must watch the film to know Jhananathan’s views on the society and the jail system. It’s worth your time.
-          Secondly, for his light hearted treatment of such an impactful, intense subject. Purampokku will not only entertain, but will educate too.
-          You’ll find the characters very exciting. There are a lot.
-          Lastly, the jail sequences, which are the biggest attraction of the film. To make the scenes look authentic, a massive set worth 2 crores was put up for the portions.

More to come…

Yatchan – This will be my next release. This will be an action fantasy film, totally contrasting to Purampokku and will be on the lines of Arinthum Ariyamalum and Pattiyal. It’ll be a thoroughly engaging, fun filled movie.

VSOP – It is exactly what people are expecting it to be – a laugh riot, just like Boss Engira Baskaran. And the director has put a lot of thought into the title (laughs).

Inji Iduppazhagi – It’s a beautiful script; a bilingual. Again a fun film, catering to the family audience. This is the kind of movie that might not happen again in your career.

Bangalore Days remake – We have shot for 80% of the movie. It’s a very successful movie in Malayalam, hence we have a responsibility on our shoulders to do justice to the Tamil version of it.

How many releases this year?

All the five…

You must be running around rapidly with that kind of schedule? Don’t you ever take a time off work?

It’s not that bad actually. Purampokku is about to release and Yatchan and Bangalore Days remake are almost done.

To be frank, shooting is like taking a break. I’m not doing any strenuous porter’s job, am I? I’m being treated well, I’ve got all comforts and I’ve also got assistants to help me with things. Life’s good! There’s nothing to complain about.

As an actor, what scares you the most?

There’s nothing scary about it. In fact there are too many perks in being an actor. Fear takes over only when you take things too seriously. That’s when you start to worry about expectations being big or small. When you start working furiously, the charm of the profession is lost. You enjoy it the most when you take it light. I enjoy my work and that’s why I don't require a break.  Only thing is that I have to be very clear about what I’m capable of and what I want to do.

What do you do to escape fans when you yearn for some private time?

Fans aren’t gonna shoot you down. They might want to say hi or want an autograph or a selfie. Give them that and they’ll be on their way. If you aren’t in a position to do so, I think the fans are matured enough to understand that. Or, that’s how the people I have met have behaved with me.

You are also a producer now and with a new bunch of promising talents coming in, what kind of transitions are we looking at in Tamil cinema?

Nowadays all good films are turning out to be producers’ films. If we give good content, we get good returns. So as producers, we have got a responsibility to make films with strong content.

But, how do you gauge the capability of a new director?

You know, that’s the trickiest part nowadays. There are people almost everywhere wanting to narrate a script.

Generally, we’ll know from the way a director narrates. Sometimes, we’d have seen a few working as assistants. We also know from their capacity to visualize.

I also believe if there’s a basic system or guidelines to screen test new directors, there would be more content driven movies in Tamil industry.

Does taking more multi-starrers raise more questions about your confidence?

They are just perspectives. Everyone has his / her own point of view. It’s not a crime to have an opinion. In the end, it comes down to one question- Do the characters I take up give me happiness? That is the only question I care about while signing a movie.

It’s difficult to satisfy everyone. Some like loud acting and some don’t. I might think I had not done justice to a particular role or overacted a few parts. But people might love those things. Opinions always differ from person to person. There isn’t any right or wrong views.

Leave out the actor in you. As an enthusiast, what kind of movies do you like?

There isn’t any difference. I do films that I like. If I can connect to a character or if I think the role comes naturally to me, that is my kind of movie.

I don't do films just because I’ve not done a blind man or differently-abled before. If you want to brag about your acting capabilities, shoot it with a small camera and put it on YouTube. Why risk producers’ money for it.

Is your real life persona and the one people believe you are off-screen, different?

I don't think so. And most importantly I consciously make attempts to not act off screen. That’s one good thing about me. I cannot do that. It’s much more tiring than acting onscreen.

How much does it irk you when you are constantly inquired about your love life?

If I’m in love or getting married, I’ll be open about it. The irony is that people ask me about my relationship, while in reality I don't have a girlfriend. Contrary to the intentions of interrogators, the inquiry turns out to be a cruel joke, reminding me that I still don't have a girlfriend. And the funny part is that they think I’m hiding something. Where do I hide a girl? In my pocket? (chuckles)

Always a pleasure Arya! Good Luck and have fun!