After more than a year since his last release, ‘Siva Manasula Sakthi,’ a hit, Jiiva returns with ‘Kacheri Aarambam,’ releasing today. Why the hiatus? Laughs Jiiva: “I wanted to be sure that we came out with a winner again. ‘KA’ will be an entertainer for all classes of audience.”

Jiiva also cites another reason for the gap between his two films. “Two other producers who were supposed to do ‘KA’ backed out because it is a big budget film. It is one of the costliest projects of mine. Eventually we decided to take it up ourselves. ‘Kacheri Aarambam’ is Jiiva’s home production. [Incidentally, Supergood Films is returning to Tamil after three years.] J.D. Chakravarthy is doing an important role in ‘KA’ and as he was busy we had to wait for his dates. So it was with Vadivelu who appears throughout the film. Our comedy is bound to be a draw. In fact Vadivelu’s humour is our trump card.”

Jiiva’s jaunt with Santhanam and the pair’s perfect timing and expressions so essential in comedy, clicked in a big way in ‘SMS.’ But ‘KA’ is the hero’s first outing with Vadivelu. “And this time too it’s been great fun,” he chuckles.

Thiraivannan, who has apprenticed under the likes of Bhoopathy Pandian and Seeman, makes his bow as director with ‘Kacheri Aarambam.’ The film promises a lot of levity and a little action too. “I think the title is explicit,” says Jiiva. Seeing his slant towards humour these days it is difficult to believe that it is the same actor who sought serious stuff not so long ago, with films such as ‘Ram’ ‘Katradhu Tamizh’ and ‘Rameswaram.’ Has he changed tack because besides ‘Ram’ the other two didn’t fare well at the box office? “The point is I’m open to all kinds of roles. Agreed, ‘Katradhu Tamizh’ wasn’t a money spinner, but even today, going by my interactions on Orkut and Facebook, my fan base is much wider post ‘KT.’ Yet it’s result did upset me and I decided to do more of commercial cinema.”

Jiiva’s other projects include a dual role in Sai Ramani’s ‘Singampuli,’ Gokul’s ‘Rowthiram,’ which promises realistic action on the lines of the Hindi film, ‘Sathya,’ and K.V. Anand’s ‘Ko.’ “Within the commercial format, each will showcase a new dimension in characterisation,” he avers.

Except ‘Ko,’ Jiiva’s other films are all maiden attempts of directors! “Dad [R.B. Choudhary] has always encouraged new filmmakers with potential. I toe his line. And it’s not as though I’m not interested in big names. I’m waiting for opportunities to work with seasoned makers in the league of Mani Ratnam, Hari and Gautam Menon. There’s still plenty of time,” he smiles.

Simbu walked out of ‘Ko’ and Jiiva stepped in. “K.V. Anand had approached me earlier for ‘Ayan.’ He came to me with the story of ‘Ko’ a little hesitantly, but I liked it immensely. So what if Simbu didn’t want to do it? I’ve tried out a variety of genres and characters so far. ‘Ko’ will be another new experience. I play a suave, sophisticated photo journalist, very different from the man-on-the-street parts I’ve portrayed,” he says.

And the female interest? “Karthika is the daughter of a celebrity. Her mother Radha was a great heroine in her heyday. We are shooting a song sequence in Kulu Manali right now and Karthika is doing a great job,” he certifies, and adds: “‘Ko’ has Piyaa too.”

The conversation veers towards ‘Kacheri Aarambam,’ once again. Its heroine is Poonam Bajwa. “A real tomboy!” he guffaws. “Our ‘Thenavettu’ was a hit and hence the distributors felt we should get back together for ‘KA.’” But the move has already had the grapevine working overtime! “This was a decision backed purely by business concerns. If at all any one should worry, it’s my wife, and she doesn’t. So let tongues wag,” he shrugs.

Jiiva showers compliments on ‘KA’s cinematographer Vaithi and composer Imman. “The best thing about Imman is his energy. We kept asking him for more and more tunes and he kept working on them without let-up. And Vaithi has put in effort required for two films for just this one. It’s been a great teamwork.” Has Jiiva trained in music? “Yes, I learnt classical for three years, after which my interest shifted to pop. Surely I have an ear for music,” he says.

Thus ‘KA’ comes with a lot of hope and happiness from the makers. “Just one request, please remember to spell my name with two ‘i’s. The ‘e’s in between cause much confusion as the industry has many Jeevas.” Or is it numerology? “That’s also there. A foreigner whom I met in Pondicherry asked me to use ‘i’ and it has proved good for me,” he grins sheepishly.