Actor Arya shares his excitement and experience working on Selvaraghavan’s Irandaam Ulagam, his first mega budget film

It has been an eventful year for Arya. Two of his three recent releases (Settai, Raja Rani and Arrambam) have been declared super hits. The young heartthrob, who is on course to establishing himself as a bankable star at the box office, is awaiting the release of the big-budget Irandaam Ulagam.

The tagline may not excite a film buff — ‘How far can you travel for love?’ — but one has to only hear what the film is about. Irandaam Ulagam is a love story that follows the conventions of the fantasy genre.

Director Selvaraghavan has promised that he would narrate a riveting tale of love across different universes! Though Selvaraghavan’s competence is beyond doubt, how did the actor convince himself that this overtly ambitious attempt could be pulled off without hiccups? “First of all, I have to give credit to the producers. They made sure whatever was needed for the film was available. I was impressed with the way Irandaam Ulagam took the idea of love to a whole new level. I really liked the manner Selva has conceived of and narrated this film,” he says.

Did the fact that the director’s Aayirathil Oruvan, which also could be slotted into the fantasy genre, received mixed reactions ever play on his mind? “That was a film based on historical fiction. The audience was expected to fill in the blank spaces with their knowledge of history. There were a lot of details that people didn’t know. There are no such things in Irandaam Ulagam. I am sure it will work well with the audience and open up the space for such films in future,” he says.

Having worked with intense filmmakers (Bala and Selvaraghavan), what kind of instructions did the actor receive from director Selvaraghavan? “Nothing,” he says. Nothing? “He just said, ‘Come to the set, I‘ll take care of everything’.”

He continues, “Apart from being a director, he is a great actor. He is someone who can cry naturally without using glycerine. I just learnt to observe him and enact whatever he did.”

An eye-opening experience

Like most films in the fantasy genre, Irandaam Ulagam too features quite a bit of computer-generated imagery. Apparently, there is a sequence where the actor fights a lion. (Remember Richard Parker from Life of Pi?) “It was an eye-opening experience for me. We shot that three-minute sequence for 10 days,” he says.

Elaborating, he says, “I had to act as if I was fighting a lion. Of course, there was no lion on the set. It required extensive co-ordination with the pre-production team to make sure I got every detail right. The moves had to be done in such a way that they should be in sync when the computer generated lion was inserted into the frame. I had to execute the stabbing action at just the right angle and position,” he says.

This will be Arya’s first mega-budget film. Even conservative estimates suggest that Rs. 60 crore has gone into the making of the film. Does he feel the pressure? “Not at all,” he shrugs and says, “It’s nice to do films like these. Good to know that people have confidence in me.”

Is he working out a strategy that will determine the kind of films he will be doing in future? “I don’t have any strategy as such. I enjoy what I am doing right now. I just see if I like the script. I will take it up if I like it,” he says.