He is the director’s actor. His performances are powerful yet subtle. He is intuitive and brings a down-to-earth freshness to his characters. He recently won the National award for best male actor. Yes, we are talking about ‘Cheeyon’ Vikram.
After a quiet debut in Meera over a decade ago, he was in the wilderness with not many films. He shifted to Malayalam where he got steady work. However, his earnestness to hit stardom in Tamil made him persevere. He stayed in the sidelines as a good dubbing artiste blessed as he is with a cultured voice. Then came Sethu and life changed forever. There has been no looking back with hit after hit in Kasi, Dil, Dhool, Gemini, Sami and Pithamagan. His career moved only in one direction – upwards. From romance to action to gut-wrenching histrionics, Vikram does it all with aplomb.
Here we bring an exclusive interview with the award winning actor who is giving the finishing touches to his forthcoming film under Shankar’s direction, Anniyan.
Congrats Vikram for winning the National award. You must be aware that Kamal Hasan is the other actor from Tamil cinema to have won the honour. How have you been influenced by Kamal?
I am a great fan of Kamal. I was attracted to filmdom only having watched his films. I have learnt a great deal of the nuances of fine acting from him. If you watch my early films, his influence is ever present. Now, as I would like to grow and mature, I have evolved my own style. However, I owe a lot of my honing to Kamal.
You became a mass hero after a string of commercial hits. Once into that range, most heroes churn out four or five films in a year. In your case, you have been working on one film(Anniyan) for close to two years? Will this not affect your market presence and disappoint your fans?
See, acting is my passion. I owe my success to the continued affection of my fans and I feel it is my duty to offer them rich and varied fare. That is why, I think once they watch Anniyan they will appreciate that good films do take a long time. The effort that has gone into the making of Anniyan will be reflected in every frame. It will be a treat for the viewers.
Tell us about the experience of working under Shankar in Anniyan.?
Shankar is a master craftsman and a great taskmaster. He works with single-minded dedication and Anniyan has been a great challenge to him as well. His hard work has motivated me to do the demanding role to great perfection. I want the film to be talked about not only for Vikram but also for the director Shankar and the entire team. I am sure the film will mark a new chapter in Tamil cinema. Working under Shankar will always bring sweet memories.
Your partnership with Bala…. ?
Bala and I are great friends. The professional equation of director and actor is at a different level and we are friends in the first place. We respect each other’s capabilities. The symbiotic process has yielded good films and success to both of us. Both of us went to Delhi to receive the National award. Likewise, we went together to an awards function in Kuwait.
Besides Tamil, you have done films in Telugu and Malayalam. Now it seems you are not that much interested in other languages….?
No, no it is not true. Just as I would like to concentrate on Tamil cinema I am open to good roles in other languages also. To do a film in these languages, I have to be convinced fully of the story. I am doing a film in Malayalam now. It is directed by Plassey whose earlier film Kazhcha was a super hit.
What is your next film in Tamil?
Nothing has been finalized as yet. I am listening to some good scripts. All I can say is I want to do a film which satisfies everyone especially children.
You also act in ad films…?
Why not? It is also a mass medium. I am glad to be the brand ambassador for Coca Cola. It has given me the opportunity to reach out to more people.
Despite your hectic schedule, you took time off to fly to Mauritius with your fans….?
Oh it was great fun. As part of the Tamil New year package, Vijay TV had announced an SMS contest and four lucky winners were flown to Mauritius to spend a day with me. It was a whale of an experience. I got four new friends