Actor Suriya was on a quick trip to Mumbai with wife Jyothika, daughter Diya and son Dev — The purpose was to sign on the dotted line as the brand ambassador of Close Up toothpaste, a Unilever brand, and to shoot for its ‘Ek Din Achanak' ad campaign. The commercial will go on-air in mid-June.
We caught up with the actor in the middle of a hectic day. Excerpts.
Being a popular actor from Tamil cinema, you must have been approached by several brands to be its ambassador. Why Close Up?
My association with the brand actually goes back a long way, much before I signed on or even thought I would be signed as the brand ambassador. In school, my friends and I were fascinated by this red gel toothpaste in the market. It was a big novelty then — toothpaste in gel form, and I started using it. It was a regular feature in my mornings, till I started travelling more often and used whatever was available. Till something happened to make me realise my folly and I went back to it.
And, that was?
I was shooting for my first film, and I managed pretty much everything except cosying up to my co-star. My director was at his wits' end, and told me romance was something I needed to master. Then he shifted the heroine out of her place and sat there to enact the scene. It was a singularly most embarrassing moment when the director asked me if I'd had biryani for lunch! I immediately switched back to Close Up…
You must be happy you are connecting with Hindi-speaking audiences too with this campaign.
Definitely. But, I think after ‘Ghajini' and ‘Rakht Charitra', audiences up North too are familiar with me. People recognise me as the one from the original ‘Ghajini', and I'm happy about it.
Was ‘Rakht Charitra' a wrong choice?
Not at all. I was impressed with the way my character was etched out. I was very charged about doing it. It may not have done well, but I am very satisfied with the way it (my role) turned out.
What about your innings in Bollywood?
I'd have done ‘Rakht Charitra' in any language; it was made in Hindi, and I liked it. I am not too affected by its result because I'm doing very well in Tamil cinema. I get my roles and my experimental characters are well-received. So, there is no feeling of being let down.
How do you feel about your films remade in Hindi and marketed aggressively?
A lot of that is happening now — first ‘Ghajini', then ‘Khakha Khakha' (‘Force') and ‘Singham'. I am happy for them...
Have you been approached for the same role in Hindi?
I have been approached by several filmmakers here, but it is a question of time, really. I have so much work in Tamil films that about 10 months in a year are occupied. It is a little too much to expect me to squeeze in a Hindi film in the remaining time!
Looks like you'd rather give your time to family
Yes. In fact, my family has flown down with me to Mumbai. Jyothika and I are in the process of enrolling our children into some summer camps so that their vacation is fun-filled. They are with their grandma (Jyothika's mother), and are going to stay for some more time.
I am doing A.R. Murugadoss' ‘7am Arivu'. I am glad to be working with him again after five years.