As Udayan is being wrapped up, its hero Arulnidhi provides tidbits about the film

When Arulnidhi calls me up and asks, “Could we talk about my next release,” I am game. Not only because his Udayan is to come out soon and two more of his projects are in the pipeline, but also because it's an interaction I genuinely enjoy. And as expected, the hero's wit and humour make the session a laughathon of sorts!

To make yourself the butt of your jokes calls for guts, especially when you are in showbiz! Arul has it. Never mind if the person in front of him is a journo. All the same, it isn't tactless talk! He peppers his takes with levity, without overdoing it!

It's nearly nine months since Arulnidhi made his debut. The gap between his maiden Vamsam and the upcoming Udayan is yawning. “We shot for 100 days for my first film, most of the time in the scorching sun. So I wanted a break. Also I had to complete the MBA course I was pursuing,” he explains. Mouna Guru, his next after Udayan, is to be directed by Dharani's assistant, Shanthakumar.

If he needed to take it easy after Vamsam, how come he has already signed up two films after Udayan? “Ah! I'm cornered. But the answer is simple. My father has strictly told me, ‘No more breaks, son! You've relaxed enough. Your next holiday will be only after a blockbuster from you,'” Arul chuckles.

In hindsight, does he feel the hard work he put in for Vamsam was worthwhile? After all, the film didn't create magic at the box office. “It wasn't a disaster either. Decent hit is more like it,” he contends. “In fact it did brisk business down South.”

But it should have worked out even better because it was a well-made film from Pandiraj, after his much acclaimed hit, Pasanga. And, for a first timer, Arulnidhi had acquitted himself quite well. “Too much publicity was a reason and over-confidence another,” Arul admits candidly.

“But offers began pouring in soon after the audio release of Vamsam.

Could it be because he's the grandson of the DMK chief?

“Couldn't it be my height,” he counters with a straight face!

“By the way, Sai Ravi, the villain in Udayan, is as tall as I am. And Dilip Subbarayan has choreographed our stunts well.” Any marks of valour? “During the fight sequences of Vamsam, I injured my right hand — this time it was the left,” he laughs.

Chaplin, Pandiraj's assistant, makes his bow as director with Udayan. Is that his original name? “It is Chaplin Manasa in full! Come to think of it, I'm intrigued too. Must ask him about it,” says Arul. Vamsam helped their friendship blossom and the rapport made work during the Udayan schedules easy. “Also, Milton, the cinematographer, was very encouraging.”

Manikanth Kadri, son of Kadri Gopalnath, debuts as composer in Tamil. “But he's worked in around five films in Kannada,” he says. “Udayan should showcase me as a commercial hero. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.”

Any new faces in Udayan?

“Am I an old face already? All right, my heroine is Pranathi. The seasoned Ashish Vidyarthi has an important part and we have Santhanam,” he informs. With his sense of timing for comedy he should probably make a laugh riot with Santhanam. “Yeah, I think we should,” he nods in assent.

Arul plays a city bred in Udayan. After the typical villager role in Vamsam? “Please, I've lived in the city all my life. One film, and you think I should be typecast? That's exactly why I didn't opt for a bucolic milieu again.”

Is Udayan his name in the film? “Let the suspense remain. I only wish to say that I've tried out something new.”

Like?

“Acting?” he asks with feigned naivety, and adds, “Just kidding. To know what's new you'll have to wait for the release.”

Keywords: Arulnidhi