Shantanoo Bhagyaraj who is back with Ammavin Kaipesi talks about his director, dad and the importance of hard work

Shanthanoo Bhagyaraj’s eyes gleam with the excitement of a child who has just mastered a craft.

“Working with director Thankar Bachan in Ammavin Kaipesi has been a learning experience I will not forget,” begins the actor, who makes it evident that he will put to good use the nuances of acting he has learnt from the filmmaker.

“Initially, I wasn’t confident about how I was going to play the role of a worker in a tannery. However, I liked the story and told my dad about it. He said he had absolute confidence in Thankar Bachan and asked me to take it up,” says Shanthanoo.

Thankar Bachan is known for making movies that leave an impact on the viewer and at the same time highlight a social issue. His Solla Marandha Kadhai, Pallikoodam, Azhagi, Chidambarathil Oru Appasamy and Onbathu Roobai Nootu were all critically acclaimed. Shanthanoo says Thankar’s Ammavin Kaipesi, revolving around a mother and her child, will be in the same league as the filmmaker’s previous movies.

“The director conducted a 15-day workshop for the entire cast, including me and Iniya, who plays the female lead. Thambi Chozhan, an assistant director, read the script out to me thrice, and each time, I tried to analyse it from a different perspective. The first time, I looked at it from the point of view of the director; the second time, from the character’s; and the third, from the viewer’s. The shooting lasted 40 days and most of the scenes were okayed the first time itself because of the training we had,” says Shanthanoo.

It’s clear that Thankar has given Shanthanoo an idea of what acting really means. The youngster, who has so far done around six films, says he has learnt to be natural from Thankar.

“I was watching the rushes of the film the other day when I realised I hadn’t been myself in those scenes; I had actually morphed into the character. I have decided to do this in all my future films,” says the actor, going on to explain how much of hard work had gone into every scene.

“I would work at least four times on each scene and only when I was convinced with the output would I present it before the director. However, he would give me tips, making me realise I had delivered only 50 per cent of what he had expected. Thankar would not rest until I delivered my hundred per cent. Who cannot turn into a good actor at the hands of a good director,” asks Shanthanoo.

Apart from Ammavin Kaipesi, Shanthanoo is betting big on two other Tamil films — Amuli Thumili and Vaimai. Amuli Thumili is being directed by National award winning director Athiyaman.

“I am working with Nakul and Swathi of Subramaniapuram fame in this film. I should thank director Athiyaman because it was only after watching the rushes of this film that Thankar offered me Ammavin Kaipesi,” explains Shanthanoo.

Amuli Thumili is almost done. Says Shanthanoo: “We shot for 45 days in Fiji and for 10 days here. I play a playboy whose policy in life is simple. My character does not intend to cheat women but likes to have fun with those who want to have fun.” “Nakul plays a good boy in the film. I am sure he’s going to walk away with the sympathy of the audience this time,” he informs.

About Vaimai, Shanthanoo says, it will be directed by Vasantabalan’s associate Senthil Kumar.

“I play an entrepreneur in the film, which will also be made in Telugu as Sarkar. Assistant directors would approach me with scripts, but ever since word spread that I was working in Thankar’s film, associate directors and co-directors have started approaching me. It looks like my career has got the boost I’ve been waiting for,” he smiles.

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