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Sketching out myriad roles

Posted January 11th, 2018, 10:45 AM IST

Sketching out myriad roles

Like a magician, Chiyaan Vikram pulls out of his hat a surprise every time he signs up for a movie. An actor who has defied conventionality and popular expectations, Vikram is known to have taken up roles that demand extreme physical transformations. He invests time getting into the skin of his characters and though the effort may not always pay off, they do earn him a place in the hearts of his audience, fans and critics. Not to mention the personal satisfaction of the actor who as passionate of his craft today as two decades ago. Vikram normally does one film a year, but he has broken the tradition this time by signing three major films – Sketch directed by Vijay Chander, the sequel to Saamy - Saamy Square helmed by Hari and the espionage thriller Dhruva Natchathiram directed by Gautham Menon. Sketch would be his Pongal release and he was in Kochi to talk about his movie and more.

There are no trappings of superstardom evident in Vikram as he sits down for a talk – what is present is a normal albeit good-looking man plagued by bouts of coughing, “I have been unwell for the past 10 days,” he informs.





He talks of his film Sketch, “It is commercial but not a masala film with lots of mass elements.” Confidence throbs in his voice as he says, “If Sketch were to be made without me, it would be a regular masala movie with a very nice storyline, but I told the makers to make it more sensitive and raw. So it has gloss, but it is raw! My co-star Tamannaah and I are very normal. Even the romance between us will not be glitzy but real with which the audience can relate.”

He adds that real is important because every time you see a girl, you need not fall in love. A film with a lot of mystery, it was the element of intrigue that drew him to the script.

Known for his penchant of sinking his fangs into layered and complex characters, Vikram admits those are the roles that excite the actor in him. “Over a period of time, I have begun to realise that the script should also be something that will satisfy popular expectations. But satisfying popular expectations can become predictable. So you have to play the trick and find the balance by doing something unpredictable, where you invest a lot in terms of ‘difference’, but ensure that it is not ‘too different’.”

Three films up for release and two more are in the pipeline this year. It is a huge change from the one-film-a-year criteria. Vikram says he wants to change that. “Earlier I used to take six months to imbibe the script and another six months to get into the character and what happens is that I undergo a lot of changes that sometimes do not get noticed. Audience sees me after a long gap and realises that I have done something, but it is not on the face.” The newfound wisdom has had him shuttling between multiple projects simultaneously and each film is different as far as his acting, physique and body language are concerned. “That, I feel, is very exciting and more of a challenge working in my favour,” he adds before stating, “I do not want to waste time when you can complete a film in so many days.”

Perhaps the biggest project of this year would be his role of Mahavir Karnan in the film of the same name to be helmed by Mollywood director R.S Vimal. For the mega `300-crore project, he has allotted four months for shoot and three months to prep up. Initially, when he was approached for the role, Vikram had his doubts because this was an iconic role already immortalised by Shivaji Ganeshan. But Vikram had seen Vimal’s Ennu Ninte Moideen and found his work sensitive. So he decided to listen to what Vimal had to say, “I was informed that it was not a Tamil film, but Hindi and I realised that these people had a lot of heart. Not only had they put up a huge budget, they also had the best technicians on board from around the world, not to mention apt artistes to play various roles. From the script to the artistes, everything is very specific,” he says.

Yet again, Vikram will slip into the shoes of a character that will demand an intense physical transformation. There is a twinkle in his eyes when he shrugs and says, “That is nothing new; I love that.”

Talking about the changes in Kollywood, he says scripts have become more important which is good for actors like him who look for good scripts and characters. “The audience has evolved and is able to accept sad endings, but they like masala films too.” Another aspect Vikram points out is that every film of his will not have the heroine being just arm-candy, but a strong woman with her own personality.

Kerala is second home to Vikram since his wife hails from Kannur. For him, family is sacred and privacy matters. He says, “I am a very normal person and do not like my family coming out in photos.” He had recently been to his in-laws’ home before his daughter’s wedding.

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