From dreaming of films, to now acting in them, four college friends Ashok, Laguparan, Vinoth and Vivek, share their stories

Seven years ago, friends Ashok Selvan, Laguparan, Vinoth Kishan and Vivek Rajgopal were students of Visual Communication in Loyola College, but dreamt of joining the cine world. Today, each of them has made it to the industry thanks to hard work, talent, luck and in particular, friendship.

The Boys

Ashok of Soodhu Kavvum fame, is the believer in the group. “He is a smart chap who knows what he wants and goes for it fearlessly,” says Laguparan. After Soodhu Kavvum, he played the hero in Villa followed by Thegidi. He’s currently working on Kekae Bokae and two other projects. “He is a very carefree person,” says Vinoth. Ashok is fondly called ‘The Caveman’ by his friends because he claims that the three basics —food, water and clothing—are all he needs in life. His dream role is to act well in a biopic. He is also an ace cricketer.

Laguparan debuted as a hero in Raattinam. His friends think he defines the phrase ‘No logic, just magic’. “He is a positive person who has a positive influence on his peers,” says Vivek. He is also a talented Tamil poet. He worked as an assistant director while in college and aspires to direct someday. Laguparan’s second movie was Oruvar Medhu Iruvar Saindhu followed by a French film Son E Pose. His future projects are Manam Mayangudhe and Oosi Pattasu. “I’ve no dream roles as such and I’m open to anything based on the story, but playing Fidel Castro is a role I would be interested in taking up,” says Laguparan.

Vinoth is a child artist who entered the industry with Nandha and gained stardom in Naan Mahaan Ala followed by Vidiyum Munn. “He is clear about his goals in life,” says Ashok. He has done a movie in Malayalam and Telugu. Kaliyugam, Yaazh and Andhagaaram are the movies which are yet to be released. Vivek says, “Once Naan Mahaan Alla became a hit, Vinoth, being a kid at heart, was busy playing in the rain. Success never goes to his head. He is a versatile actor who is both grounded and dedicated.” He is also a talented drummer and dancer whose dream role is of a historical warrior.

Vivek Rajgopal entered the cine field with Naanga followed by Mathaapu and then starred as a hero in Oru Modhal Oru Kadhal. “He’s also a talented singer and a dancer who is popular among the girls. That was a disadvantage for us during culturals!” laughs Laguparan. His dream is to play the warrior in Troy.

Friendship

When it comes to choosing movies, each discusses with the other three before signing contracts. If the character they are offered better fits another, they suggest him to the director, they say. “We help each other grow because we are a family. Friends are the family we get to choose and this is one bond that would never break,” says Vinoth.

They also appreciate the criticism they receive from friends about their work. “Transparency is required for a friendship to last forever. We know each other inside out. Despite our schedules, we try our best to meet almost every day,” says Vivek. If one of them has had to learn dance, action stunts or other performing arts, all four of them enrol for classes together.

Family

“Our families have been a huge support to us and make our journey smooth. Our parents gave us the freedom to choose our careers. We are indeed blessed,” says Laguparan. Laguparan’s father Thirunavukarasu, for instance, keeps a record of every published photograph or article of the friends’ achievements, however small it may be.

Dream

Their dream is to someday feature in a movie together. “That would be something special for us,” says Ashok. They also have plans of starting a company together in a couple of years. “We’re 25 but people know all four of us now. We are not from a cine background. We got into this field together and we’re here because of our hard work,” says Vivek."