Vikram-starrer “Kanthaswamy” makes a record first-week collection at the box-office. The movie has made a record collection of Rs 37 crore in its opening week

The rooster has something to crow about. Kanthaswamy, according to its director Susi Ganeshan, has made a record collection of Rs. 37 crore, including Rs. 16 crore in Tamil Nadu, at the box-office in the opening week of its international release.

“I’m very excited. It’s an unbelievable opening for a South Indian film. And for me, it’s a great commercial success. It took two-and-a-half years to make the film. I’m glad the collective effort of all those associated with the film has paid off. We put our heart and soul into it,” says actor Vikram, in a telephonic chat during a promotion whirl for the film at Kochi.

Despite the dozen interviews he’s given through the evening, the actor sounds upbeat. Kanthaswamy is an important film for me. Very rarely do I get to play such stylish characters,” adds the actor known for making against-the-grain choices when it comes to roles. “There’s a dichotomy in the character I play. The sharp and suave officer is a contrast to the raging Kokkarako.”

Vikram says the Rooster character has appealed to kids: “Children are fascinated by the character. My kids find it awesome. I’m particularly fond of it because it wasn’t easy to pull it off.”

In order to get his role right, Vikram followed every movement of a rooster for weeks at home. “My wife was quite mad at me because the rooster would crow at unearthly hours and wake up neighbours,” laughs the actor, who has performed some well-orchestrated gravity-defying action as Kokkarako. “It took several days to film the fight sequences.”

Pushing creative boundaries is not new to Vikram. “I try to outdo myself with every role. Kanthaswamy gave me an opportunity to slip into various personae. The scene in which I play a beautiful woman is something I’ve never tried before. I was a bit apprehensive. But director Susi Ganeshan convinced me to do it. After the initial photo shoot, the entire unit was like ‘Wow!’ So I went ahead and performed it.”

The singer

Talk about crooner Vikram, whose numbers for Kanthaswamy have remained chartbusters for weeks, and he explains: “I always wanted to cut an album. Singing is a passion and melody is my forte. Thanks to music director Devi Sri Prasad who realised my vocal skill and insisted I sing.”

Vikram credits his director with all the new ideas: “Susi is brimming with ideas. He’s very individualistic in his approach. He can identify one’s potential and utilise it completely. A true showman, he loves lavishly mounted films. It isn’t easy to combine gloss-filled entertainment with a strong message. Susi has done that.”

Foundation work

The film, which exhorts everyone to do their bit to wipe away the tears of the needy, attempts to delve into the issue of economic disparity. It depicts how the rich stash away their wealth in secret places while the poor live in abject poverty. Kanthaswamy plays a Robin Hood-like character, robbing the rich and helping the poor.

The theme of the film prompted the MIT engineer-turned-director and his crew to float the idea of the Kanthaswamy Foundation. With friends from the film industry and NRIs, Susi Ganeshan hopes to motivate individuals to adopt villages in the State. “The screening process is going on in full swing. Based on letters received, my assistants have fanned out to various villages to ascertain facts,” says the director.

But that’s not all that’s keeping the director busy. He is also focussed on readying the Italian and Spanish versions of the film. “Since a chunk of the film was shot in Mexico and Italy, Kanthaswamy is sure to evoke interest there. It will be pruned to 90 minutes and released.”