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Interview Team : Kaushik L M

Velai Illa Pattathari is the toast of the town now, after the film’s rousing success. Despite the presence of many acting heavyweights in the movie, young Hrishikesh who acted as Dhanush’s younger brother has also grabbed a few eyeballs with his presence and neat performance. Calling himself a ‘local soup boy’, Hrishi opens up to Kaushik in his first interview to Behindwoods.

The baby steps into the creative world

I did my schooling from PSBB and then my Visual Communication from Madras University. During my college days, I was involved in a lot of creative projects, including short films numbering to around 10. I have acted in some, directed some and was also involved in both departments in some. I then joined Jayendra Sir as his assistant and was with him for about 2 years, working in ads and documentaries. Then I got a chance to do VIP and all this proved to be a big learning experience for me to do my first film


The respectful younger brother who always addresses the elder one as ‘Anna’

The script was like that. In real life, I have a little brother and he never calls me Anna (laughs). The movie was different in this aspect.

During the audition itself, Dhanush sir told me that this was a very subtle and innocent character, and not a macho role. In real life I am not exactly like that. It was tough as I had to underplay the character. But Dhanush sir gave me quality inputs and it was inspiring to perform with him.


Any homework that was required? 

On the spot, Dhanush sir explained each scene in detail. He is someone who knows the audience’s pulse well. I had to be myself, and this was the biggest homework.

My grandfather and great grandfather are filmmakers. I literally grew up in studios and have been exposed to all the aspects of cinema, radio and ads from a young age. I had no camera fear and this was a big advantage

I literally grew up in studios


The tough interval block scene

The interval block scene was difficult. Dhanush sir told me clearly that this scene had to hold the interval and that I was the only one who would react and cry aloud. I had to carry the scene singlehandedly. I didn’t see it as a pressure and was happy that such a responsibility was placed on a newcomer like me.


The abundance of acting talent and quality around 

My very first shot in VIP was with the entire family, the scene when I buy a new car. It felt good to share the space with such established actors and National Award winners like Dhanush sir, Saranya mam and Samuthirakani sir. We were like one big family. Initially I was tense about acting with all of them, but they made me comfortable and extracted the best possible work. Everything was so smooth.

Amala Paul was another very sweet person, with no hang-ups of being a star. She is very open and down to earth.

Vivek sir is very funny in real life too and is always full of punch lines. He has been encouraging me and Amitash in all his media interactions and internet messages.

Velraj sir was very clear about his script. He gave a lot of freedom and was also open to suggestions. He knows how to extract work from artistes and will explain the situation so beautifully.

It felt good to share the space with such established actors and National Award winners like Dhanush sir, Saranya mam and Samuthirakani sir


‘Amul Baby’ Amitash

Amitash did justice to his role. I liked his performance a lot and the audience’s extreme reactions prove that his role has been successful in impacting them. He was also helpful to me as a fellow newcomer.


VIP’s First Day First Show (FDFS) experience 

I felt very happy. Despite being Dhanush’s 25th film, audiences have recognized a newcomer like me. All the scenes were applauded during the FDFS.

My drunken antics in the ‘Oodhungada Sangu’ number and the heavy pre-interval portion are particularly being appreciated wholeheartedly by the audience.

I have always been a FDFS person, for films of all stars and also the smaller ones. I have always been excited during such FDFS. Now, while seeing the FDFS of VIP at Albert theatre, people recognized me and shouted at me in excitement. That felt good.

All the reviews have mentioned me positively and I am very satisfied about that. Despite the presence of Dhanush sir and all the other established actors, I could make a mark. I couldn’t have asked for anything more as a debutante

I couldn’t have asked for anything more as a debutante


The Pudhupettai effect 

Pudhupettai was the first Dhanush film that I saw and I instantly became a big fan of his acting. I then saw his earlier films.

Among his work, Pudhupettai, Thiruvilayadal Aarambam, Aadukalam and of course VIP are my favorites


Cousin Anirudh’s inspiring rise

His has been an extra-ordinary growth. In 5 films he has reached the top of his line with every album doing one bigger than the previous one. We grew up together, and belong to the same age group. He was a prodigy from a very young age and me being a percussionist and drummer, we used to jam together often. The signs that he will make it big were evident from a very young age

The signs that Anirudh will make it big were evident from a very young age


A Rajini ‘veriyan’ at heart

I am a big fanatic (veriyan) of Rajini sir. Recently in Kochadaiiyaan, his voice alone was enough for me to forget myself in delight. It was a complete Rajini sir film and we got to hear his voice on screen after 4 years. The film was replete with punch dialogues and I loved it. I am eagerly looking forward to Lingaa.

Baasha was my first Rajini FDFS. I was 4 years old then. I had even been to the shooting spot of Baasha back then as a kid.

I sought Rajini sir’s blessings before VIP commenced.

I also like Ajith sir, Vijay sir, Mohanlal sir for particular traits

Baasha was my first Rajini FDFS. I was 4 years old then


The supportive elder sisters

Aishwarya and Soundarya mam have been very supportive. Aishwarya saw VIP and congratulated me, saying that I had done full justice. She has always been encouraging me as a little brother


Thanksgiving time

I would like to thank Dhanush sir first of all. I told him a long time back that I was interested in acting. When VIP was about to begin, they auditioned about 10 to 15 people and wanted someone who could portray that innocence as a younger brother. I went for a look test one fine day and then straight to shoots the very next day. It all happened in a jiffy. I thank him for remembering me. He gave me inputs not just for VIP but also for my future as an actor.

Then, Velraj sir. He is so genuine, quiet and simple. He is quick and a great taskmaster.

Anirudh has been supportive right from our childhood days. His growth has been a major inspiration for me.

I have a small intimate gang of friends who are highly critical of whatever I do. But they also liked VIP and that is huge for me and motivates me a lot.

And finally my family and the whole VIP team.

Dhanush sir gave me inputs not just for VIP but also for my future as an actor.


The social media boon

Social media has helped me a lot for the film’s promotions.  So many people have followed me and given me quality feedback and reviews on Twitter and FB. I am completely dependent on it.


The total Tamil cinema buff

Though I see all-language films, I am proud of the kind of films that we do here in Tamil and will always hold them special. Tamil films are the best, any day. But I am a big fan of Salman Khan (smiles), he is an exception.

There have been emotional films which have had a big impact on the way I see and approach life. For example, Taare Zameen Par and of course VIP is on top. I can relate to at least 70% of the movie and the 2nd half in particular as I was a real life VIP before doing the movie

I was a real life VIP before doing the movie


The road ahead

I thank the audience and everyone who has seen the film, wholeheartedly for supporting and welcoming a newcomer like me.

I am focused on acting for now, and maybe later after establishing myself as an actor, I will dabble with direction.

I am open to any challenging role and not just lead roles. I have not yet signed my next and am just looking around.

Directors, please consider me (smiles)





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