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Interview Team : Anita

An actor who came from the ‘Boys’ crew, a Shankar product and a versatile performer, Nakul takes sometime off from his busy schedule and talks to Anita Raghuraman about his journey from Boys to Narathan. Read along to know all about his sleeper hit Tamizhukku En Ondrai Azhuthavum (TEOA), his career as an actor and his approach towards each character.

Boys happened in 2003. You took a break and came back in 2008. Again after Masilamani and Kandhakottai you re-appeared in 2013 with Naan Rajavaga Pogiren. Your career graph has been interesting. How do you look at yourself as an actor?

After Boys I realised something. Post the last shot in the film, Shankar sir said ‘all the best’ to everyone who were cast as we were all newbies then. Till that point I never thought I had done anything great in my life. Only after Boys I felt like I made my mother proud. After that I knew that I wanted to get into acting very seriously. I listened to many scripts that came along the lines of Boys and I didn’t quite like the treatment of a fat character being laughed at. Since I wanted to be taken seriously, I reduced weight and became fit. Thereon, I kept listening to scripts and took time to reload every once in a while. And that’s why may be the gap!

 Only after Boys I felt like I made my mother proud

Be it Sunaina or Aishwarya Dutta, you have struck a good chemistry with the heroines. This makes you one of the fond actors. How do you approach romantic scenes?

I am like this with everyone. I talk a lot in the sets. My crew has been very friendly till now. During the first few films, I had the hierarchy to follow. During the time when I shot with Sunaina, both of us were the ones who could help each other. We spoke in Hindi and that struck a common chord for both of us. Vijay Milton was a very hot headed person. So both of us just worked out all the romantic parts well because we were also good friends.

TEOA is very different as the girl proposes instead of the guy. I didn’t have much to do. I always prefer being comfortable with the female lead before we start to shoot.

Usually be it Masilamani, Kadhalil Vizhunthen or Vallinam, your films draw a lot of commercial influences like song sequences, fights etc. But TEOA turned out to be one of the new age films. Did you miss any mainstream element?

I actually didn’t miss any element. When we were making the song Robo Romeo, Ramprakash and Dheena master were wanting me to dance. I was the only one jumping against it and said that we shouldn’t break the character that way. I don’t want to lose out on the influence a character creates on-screen. Even before filming, I told that ‘Vasanth’ has to be this pokerface serious guy.

You are acclaimed for choosing good scripts, where the storyline is unique and off-beat. How do you go about it?

I follow what Shankar sir says. I am not here to do 100 films. Even if I do 10 really good films then my needs will be satiated. I am not here to become a Superstar. I do take time to listen to a lot of scripts. I want each of my movies to be a good memory. I won’t say every film of mine will be off-beat and awesome but the majority has to be spectacular. That’s where I am heading.

I am not here to become a Superstar

Coming to your character in TEOA, how many science textbooks did you have to go through before accepting to play Vasanth?

(Laughs) Well, I didn’t have to do much as the director did all the research. He literally worked with the Anna University students and involved many people related to science. Whenever I choose a character there has to be some similarity between me and the character. Here, Vasanth and I are both curious and on-the-feet although, memorizing the dialogues was a little difficult for me. I usually like to be ready and completely prepared with the script before I go on roll. So this film needed a lot of preparation. And as it was a dialogue driven movie, I could do all that I didn’t do in college.

I am grateful to the producer of this film, V Chandran, because our previous film Naan Rajavaga Pogiren didn’t do well. Usually after a flop film, producers don’t trust the actors but he supported me. In fact he recommended my name to the director. You know that’s how I want the cinema industry to work. There should be a trend where you say this actor will be suited to this character and that should be the only base, instead of considering the market value of a hero. Only then, real talent can be churned out.

Usually after a flop film, producers don’t trust the actors

What would you do if you encounter a day without any technology?

I will be very fine without network. I am actually not a phone person. I might just miss my Twitter crowd. As long as the phone works, I don’t mind being without signal or network. With TEOA, I basically wanted to do something difficult. I have been a college boy and a heartthrob in many films. When Ram Prakash came to me with this script he gave me a feel like he was a ‘brother from a different mother’ and I had to just accept it. The role was unique in a very idiosyncratic way and it definitely showcased me in a character that people haven’t seen me doing.

I am not a phone person but I might just miss my Twitter crowd

As an actor / singer, you are generally also known for involving yourself in the pre-production stage itself. In fact you told me you were more of an AD in TEOA. In what specific parts of the script were you involved and what are the scenes that you improvised?

On location I was a part of everything. From the dialogues to the camera work I was there. Deepak, the cameraman and the director were like husband and wife and I was like their kid. So even the minute details of shots and angles were discussed. We shot most of the film on a terrace during the peak May under the sun. So we were a very focused group. No hanky-panky talks would be there. Apart from discussing the script we would only greet each other. Music director Thaman is my dear friend and I knew he would do an awesome work. Editor Sabu also was amazing and we all know that he bagged a National award.

Apart from discussing the script we would only greet each other

The college boy tag comes along with most of your films. Your comment?

I don’t see it like a cliche. I am happy to play the same role because I don’t think five or ten years later I can play this college boy. I am actually happy and glad that I can play a college boy at 30. Although even as a college boy I do show versatility in my character. I don’t think I have reached the level to choose what my script should be. As long as I get to contribute my bit to Tamil cinema, I am happy.

I am happy and glad that I can play a college boy at 30

You have never repeated any of your directors. Any specific reasons?

Variety (laughs). I will be happy working with everyone. I am not that person who will select a few and work only with them. I get a different experience every time I work with someone new. I don’t want to stagnate with anyone. With Shankar sir, it was a dream-come-true project which I never realised when I was actually a part of that film. It was that time when I knew zilch about films and the whole process. I didn’t even speak Tamil then. But now I want to make him proud. At least he will know that I have gotten better.

I want to make Shankar sir proud

Quickies with Nakul!

Lookouts as a new-age actor in your future projects

Anything engaging the audience would be a good movie. I don’t want to be typecast for any character.

‘Naaka Mukka’ went viral and was one of its kind

The credit goes to Vijay Antony more than me. I am just happy that the song was recognised across the world and I was a miniscule part of it.

Were you given a choice of roles in TEOA?

Yes. In fact I was pestering the director to give me the role of Vasanth.

Narathan is on its way. Any interesting insights about this project?

Narathan is going to be an out and out commercial film unlike TEOA. Well let’s just say I have to run the show and make it interesting.

How much do you think the audiences are receptive to your films?

Making a film that is apt for the audience is very important. These days people seem to know even the intricate details of cinema. You can’t cheat the audience.




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