Breaking the comic mould, Sivakarthikeyan gives action a shot in his upcoming flick Maan Karate

Actor Sivakarthikeyan’s rise has been nothing short of meteoric. In the last two years, he has featured in six films out of which three have been declared super hits. It is said that his salary has grown manifold and that producers are flocking to him.

What does he plan to achieve with his next film, Maan Karate, in which he features in the lead alongside Hansika Motwani?

“I have been slotted as a comical lead so far. Thanks to the Maan Karate script which has an element of boxing hidden somewhere, I have tried to give action a shot,” he says. He plays the character of Royapuram Peter, who, no prizes for guessing, aspires to fall in love with Yazhini (played by Hansika) a ‘hep’ girl. “I play a guy from North Madras who wears only branded clothes. Maan Karate is a simple tale of whether Royapuram Peter marries Yazhini or not,” he says. Looking back at his short but successful career, how does he feel about competing with those he had interviewed as a popular television anchor?

“I experience a high when I share screen space with those I had interviewed as a television anchor. Rather than seeing them as competitors, I want to retain the place I have carved out for myself in the industry.” Now that he has delivered three back-to-back hits, does he feel confident about carrying a film on his shoulders? “Not yet. I still have to depend on putting together a good package: catchy songs and enjoyable comedy. I don’t believe that the audience can put up with me for two-and-a- half hours at a stretch.” In order to achieve this good package, Sivakarthikeyan admits that he gets involved in the music department. “Of course, I can’t judge a tune on its merit. But I made it a point to be present when Anirudh was composing the tunes to give him my opinion.”

Is he bothered by people’s criticism that he is merely an extension of a funny television anchor in his films? “Thanks to my stint in television, I acquired a certain image as a guy who makes funny comments. This is what brought people to the theatres when I did my first couple of films. How can I subvert the image that has stuck to me?”

He prefers to make slow, incremental changes. “But as an actor, I understand that I have to attempt a variety of roles. But I will do so at my own pace. For example, Maan Karate has more action sequences than any of my other films. I have to make myself acceptable before trying something radically different. I would like to do what Madhavan did in Run.”

But Sivakarthikeyan cannot foresee himself doing a film which is completely devoid of comedy. “That is something I cannot do.” After being identified as a winning horse by the trade, Sivakarthikeyan feels the pressure to deliver every single time. “It feels great for the first three days after my film is declared a hit. On the fourth day, however, I start worrying about my next film. But I think this is what drives me.”

Is he not worried about getting caught in the world of numbers? “But the trade is important. As long as I keep my target audience happy, I am safe.”