With Maanja Velu set for release shortly, Arun Vijay hopes to repeat the success of Malai Malai

Arun Vijay is on a roll. The talented actor, with whom success has been playing hide and seek for quite some time, has every reason to smile what with his previous film Malai Malai completing a 100-day run at the cinemas and his new film Maanja Velu set for release soon.

Ask him whether Malai Malai has improved his career prospects, and the actor with over 16 films to his credit, says, “I've long been waiting for a commercial hit. Malai Malai has increased my saleability as a star. The film has raised people's expectations. With success comes responsibility. I feel I should henceforth choose scripts with care and play roles that will suit my personality.”

How does he plan to choose storylines? “When Malai Malai was released I went around 70 theatres in Tamil Nadu and had a detailed discussion as to what people expected from me. After getting their reactions I selected the blockbuster Telugu movie Lakshiyam and decided to remake it in Tamil as Maanja Velu. We have made changes in the film to suit the Tamil audience. In the first half, the hero comes through as a fun-loving person; the role is challenging to portray. The climax is unusual and packed with action and sentiment. When the re-recording was done, all the musicians appreciated my performance. I am sure Maanja Velu will prove to be a milestone in my career”.

Having been in the industry for quite a while, has he got plans for the future? “I want to set a trend in action films. I want my films to be good entertainers which have all the box office ingredients in the right proportion.”

About the action sequences in Maanja Velu, Arun says, “They are unusual. We shot them over a period of 45 days. So far, I have not used a stunt double for any of my films. In Maanja Velu, one can see daredevilry in the stunt sequences, thanks to Kanal Kannan who choreographed them.”

What are the other highlights of the film? “Maanja Velu, a big-budget film, has an impressive star cast. I'm glad to say that we have once again joined hands with the technical crew of Malai Malai for Maanja Velu. Another highlight is actor Karthik who is making a come back with this film — he plays the role of my elder brother. I enjoyed working with an experienced artist like him — it helped bring out the best in me. Two songs shot in Bangkok will lend the film an exotic touch. We've also shot some sequences in Dindigul, Pollachi, Pazhani, Puducherry and Chennai,” says Arun.

About his dream role, he says, “I have so far not played a cop in any of my films and am thinking of doing it in Kaaval Thurai, again with the same technical team. I assure you it will be different and in the league of films such as Thangapadakkam, Kakka Kakka and Samy.”

Whom does he attribute his success to? “I must thank my father Vijayakumar and father-in-law Mohan. My father used to say, ‘Put your heart and soul into whatever you do'. I went all the way to the U.S. to pursue a course in acting and equipped myself for the job. Luck came in the form of my father-in-law who gave me a big break — he produced Malai Malai. And needless to say, I am what I am because of my fans.”

MY FIVE

Actors: Mel Gibson, MGR, Sivaji Ganesan, Aamir Khan, Rajnikanth and Kamal Haasan.

Films: Jananam, Pandavar Bhoomi, Thulli Thirindha Kalam, Iyarkai and Malai Malai.

Heroines: Sandra Bullock, Angelina Jolie, Sridevi, Aishwarya Rai and Simran.