Adman Jery on playing Kangani in Bala’s Paradesi
When director Bala wanted to meet Jery to discuss the script of Paradesi, Jery never knew he would be offered the role of Kangani, the film’s main villain. “I thought he was just teasing me as usual,” smiles Jery. He didn’t believe it until Bala insisted that he grew a beard for the film. In an unexpected turn of events, Jery, who has directed two Tamil films, Ullasam and Whistle, and more than 450 advertisements with his long-time friend Joseph D Sami (together they are called JD-Jery), had to face the camera for the very first time with Bala giving him instructions from behind.
How did a self-confessed softie manage to portray a dynamic character that changes its skin throughout the narrative? “I must thank Bala,” he says, and goes on to narrate the prank played by Bala on the first day of the shoot to ease his nervousness. The story goes that the sound technicians on the set, on Bala’s cue, played the popular song ‘Oru Nayagan Udhaya Maagiran’ while the junior artists were asked to lift Jery as though he was a mass hero. “I felt so embarrassed but at that very moment, my insecurity in front of the camera vanished,” he says. The very next day, he got into his groove and delivered his lines without inhibition. “Thanks to my experience as a director, I knew how to manipulate screen space. I somehow managed the first few days,” he laughs.
Today, post the release of Paradesi, Jery has been receiving appreciation for his work in the film. Yet, Jery remains a reluctant actor. “I am not desperate for roles. JD-Jery is a brand to reckon with in the world of ad films. We’ve (JD and Jery) worked so hard to build the brand over the last 15 years,” he says. However, he hopes to start work on the next feature film soon, which he will direct along with JD. “Whenever we (JD-Jery) meet Ajith, he would ask us why we've completely given up making feature films,” he says and explains, “We are completely occupied. It is very difficult to refuse work. We need to honour our commitments.” But the filmmaker promises a film will happen in the near future, “We are working on a script. We will launch the film soon.”