Actor-humorist Venkatesh Harinathan on his first foray into cinema

Even if Sutta Kadhai garnered mixed reviews in the media, his role as constable Sangilimaaran in it was much appreciated as is his cameo in the just released Irandaam Ulagam. Venkatesh Harinathan, actor and humorist, talks about his first film, the offers coming his way and about directing a play.

A member of the Chennai-based Stray Factory, Venkatesh has been in the theatre scene for a few years now. And when Subu, director of Sutta Kadhai, approached him for a role, he immediately agreed to do it. “My first film was actually Irandaam Ulagam, but it happened to release after Sutta Kadhai,” he says, adding, “Subu and I were working on a project when he told me that he was directing a film and that he was looking for someone to play a police driver. We shot for about six months and I got a great response for the role.”

How was it working with Selvaraghavan? Venkatesh says, “I loved working with him. Though I had just a couple of scenes in the film, the amount of time and effort he put into making me look good on screen was phenomenal. I am so glad I got to take my first steps into cinema under his guidance.”

Following this, Venkatesh has been approached for two more projects. “One is a black comedy, while the other is about an IT professional without a job.” Since what he gets are humour-based roles, Venkatesh hopes to push the envelope. “After Step Step Mani, people mostly approach me for funny roles. But I’m keen on trying out varied roles,” he says. Step Step Mani is a character in a humour routine Venkatesh performs with other Stray Factory members called Enna Da Rascalas. He is a lungi-clad rowdy who mimes popular songs.

Apart from cinema, Stray Factory is collaborating with an Australian playwright Pete Malicki on The Monologue Project, which is all set to produce Extraordinary, Unusual. “It’s about ordinary people finding themselves in unusual circumstances and how they respond to them.”

Venkatesh is also directing The Pillow Man, a horror play. “Plays are different from cinema in that the latter is more subtle,” he smiles.