"I’ve directed only 40 films in 38 years, whereas I’ve acted in 175 films during the same time"
Why did you switch to acting after opening your innings as a director?
I was actually appearing in small roles. The credit for making me a full-time actor goes to director K. S. Ravi Kumar. He made me do a big role in his Natpukkaga following which many young directors wanted me to act in their films. And the films I have acted in became big hits.
How would you like to be called — a director or an actor?
I’d like to be called a director as I have directed 40 films. Direction is my main job, not acting. Even now if any producer wants me to direct a film I will happily undertake it. I have done 16 serials and three tele-films too.
But you have not ventured into production yet…
I’ve been in this industry for the past 38 years. So, it’s high time I turned producer. After establishing my company, I wish to give youngsters a chance to make films such as Subramaniapuram and Nadodigal.
Which, do you think, is easy — direction or acting?
Certainly acting, as you won’t feel any burden. Direction is like a penance. As I told you earlier, I’ve directed only 40 films in 38 years, whereas I’ve acted in 175 films during the same time. Direction is tedious; you need to concentrate on several aspects of film making.
Can you name a film where you enjoyed acting the most?
How can I mention just one film? The comedy scene with Vivek in Ice, the evergreen piece with Vadivel in Thalainagaram, the scenes with Karunas in Dindugal Sarathy and Yaradi Nee Mohini and my solo comedy have all become hits.S. R. ASHOK KUMAR