Here’s how this young bunch of actors came to be cast as Ajith’s siblings in his upcoming Veeram
The announcement of Veeram’s stellar cast raised expectations of fans. And the big question was: Who would be lucky enough to play the onscreen brothers of Ajith, the protagonist Vinayagam? The makers seem to have made some unconventional choices. Vidharth, Bala, Munish and Suhail Chandhok share their Veeram experience.
Much of what Vidharth says about Ajith could be deemed as an effort to be politically correct. He just can't stop saying that “He is a big fan of Ajith”. But the fact that he plays second fiddle to the actor in Veeram despite having a handful of ‘solo’ films ready for release, confirms that he looks up to the actor. He even says, “This is Ajith's film. I am playing his brother,” says Vidharth of his Shanmugam character in Veeram.
How was it working with a person he admires? “It is said you shouldn’t get too close to your favourite actor because you eventually figure out what their minuses are. But after spending 108 days with Ajith, I admire him so much more,” he says.
Vidharth further says that he learnt the art of taking calculated risks from Ajith. “While doing a risky stunt sequence, he makes sure everything is all right. He told me that audiences are much more demanding these days and that it is his duty to deliver their money’s worth,” says Vidharth.
Apart from being known as a Formula 1 driver, Karun Chandhok’s brother, Suhail was known for his skills as a cricketer. He is a certified Level 2 cricket coach and played competitive cricket in Australia where he went to study. Just when he was hoping to get a bigger contract with the IPL team, Royal Challengers Bangalore, he sustained a knee injury.
Forced to prematurely abort his cricketing dreams, Suhail, who was equally fascinated with the camera, made a video titled Johnny Vetrivel, mimicking a fictional tourist guide in Kodaikanal. “I uploaded this 3.24-minute video on YouTube at my brother’s insistence,” he says. Suhail’s thoughtful dad sent the link to Ajith, who liked what he saw and offered him the role. “The opportunity came as a blessing in disguise,” says Suhail who plays the role of Kumaran, Vinayagam’s youngest brother.
Ajith seemed to have shared the responsibility of finding the right actors to play his onscreen brothers with director 'Siruthai' Siva. In a film such as Veeram, which is about five brothers in Oddanchathiram, casting the right actors is half the work done. “I had met Ajith at functions organised by an acquaintance. When I heard that they were looking for not-so-popular actors, I decided to give it a try. While Ajith was okay with me, I had to impress the director. But, soon I was signed up to play Siva in the film,” says Munish.
For a while now, Bala has been camping in Kerala where, he says, he was the only non-Malayalee actor to have done the maximum number of Malayalam films. He also happens to be director ‘Siruthai’ Siva’s brother. But, that had no bearing on his selection, he insists. “I had acted in a film called Hitlist in Malayalam, in which I appear with a beard. Ajith saw those stills and liked them. Only after he expressed his interest in signing me up, did Siva tell Ajith that he is my brother.”