This Deepavali, you can see ‘Jeyam’ Ravi in a new avatar. t. krithika reddy takes stock of his action-adventure Peraanmai

‘Jeyam’ Ravi has grown up at the movies. With Friday’s release Peraanmai, he takes a detour from his ‘family formula.’ Butterflies are creating havoc in his stomach, but his spirit remains unflagging. Movies or marriage, the actor has simply followed his heart. In a breezy telephonic chat from Malaysia, he discusses Peraanmai, the ‘Jeyam’ family’s magic at the marquee and more. Excerpts:

WITH PERAANMAI, I hope to make a difference in my repertoire of films. The happy-go-lucky Ravi turns serious with this film, and he has a mission to be accomplished. Playing a tribal forest guard, who is hell-bent on protecting his environment wasn’t easy.

FITNESS COUNTS for a film like Peraanmai. I had to follow a strict diet. You’ll see a new-look Ravi. I lost 13 kg and sport a tan as well. If I hadn’t lost weight, I couldn’t have pulled off all those gripping action scenes. We had to rough it out in virgin forests and live in tents. Leeches and insects made life miserable in the beginning. Soon, I got used to them. I became a tribal!

A DIRECTOR’S ACTOR, I simply followed what national-award winner S. P. Jananathan said. There were no references for my character. A stickler for detail, the director knows exactly what he wants from his cast. At the same time, he is open to suggestions. I enjoyed shooting with the unassuming film maker.

REALISTIC ACTION sequences are a highlight of the film. There is a host of scenes that involve high-risk stunts. You’ll notice there’s no exaggeration. Thankfully, I accomplished them without using a body double. Many thanks to Hollywood-fame Roland Kickinger. I learnt a lot from this Terminator Salvation guy who plays the antagonist in this film.

ROMANCE HAPPENS, but I’d like to keep it under wraps because there are five heroines in the film. Each has a well-etched role to play.

COMING UP is Thilalangadi. It’s an out-and-out ‘Jeyam’ formula with a dose of hyper entertainment. My brother and I are like cheese and cheese! So doing a film with him is a breeze. Tamannaah is the female lead. I play an unpredictable character with many interesting shades. Raja and I have given many hits so far. So watch out for this one.

POST MARRIAGE, life hasn’t changed one bit. Except, there’s one more loving and caring person in my life. My wife Aarti is very understanding. She knows what it takes to be a successful actor. This Deepavali, the family is away from Chennai because of the Thilalangadi shoot. But we are still going to have a blast.

WORK-HOME divide is clear in the family though we are all into films. Whether it’s my dad Editor Mohan or my brother Raja, we don’t talk films at home. Our family life is as normal as our neighbours’.

FRIDAY MORNINGS do give me the blues. I’m anxious about Peraanmai because we have put our heart and soul into the film for over a year. Our effort will show on the big screen. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed!