Sitting pretty

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Revelling in the success of Raman Thediya Seethai, actor Pasupathy is looking to stretch his creative boundaries further, writes Subha J Rao

His merry act in Raman Thediya Seethai is drawing the kind of wolf whistles reserved for stars. And, actor Pasupathy is enjoying every bit of the adulation. For, who else could have infused so much of infectious exuberance into the role of visually impaired radio jockey, Nedumaran. More stereotypes were broken when Pasupathy takes on four men on the road, whacking them with his cane, and stylishly at that — to thunderous claps.

For many, this avatar of Pasupathy is a revelation of sorts. Hitherto, the spotlight has always been on his gut-wrenching sorrow (Veyil), gnawing anger (Virumaandi) and the burden of existence (Kuselan). Mumbai Express and Majaa were exceptions, but they were few and far between. So much so that people have happily believed he is a true-blue villager. How wrong! “I’m a city boy,” says an earnest Pasupathy, currently shooting for Vedigundu Murugesan and TN 07 AL 4777, a remake of the Hindi Taxi No 9211.

Modesty sits beautifully on the actor, who is uncomfortable with praise and blushes every time someone tells him he’s done a good job. “My focus is always that the film should be made, and made well,” he says.

Freedom of choice

Such confidence stems from the fact that he greenlights a project after great deliberation. “I never take up a subject that does not excite me. That’s a policy from day one. I have always had the freedom to choose,” says Pasupathy, who entered the world of entertainment more than two decades ago when he joined theatre group Koothu-p-pattarai.

Cinema is a recent passion — just five years old. And, the rigorous training in theatre is visible in every nuance. For Raman Thediya Seethai, he spent a day at the Blind School in Poonamallee, and observed how the kids behaved; a visually impaired friend was another reference point. The result? He got every little twitch right. The style in the fight sequence came from the kalaripayat and Tai-chi exposure at Koothu-p-pattarai.

Now, he is looking forward to Vedigundu Murugesan, where he plays someone you can see loitering about in village bus stands. Yes, there are two ‘song-and-dance’ sequences, and even as he talks, you know Pasupathy is not entirely comfortable shaking a leg. He bashfully agrees. “But, I will do everything I have to, to justify my character,” he insists.

He is gung-ho about TN 07 AL 4777. “It is shaping up well, and should be wrapped up in a month.” A project with Udayabhanu Naalai Maheswaran is in the pipeline. After that, what? “Oh! I need a two-month break. That is a practice since my theatre days, and I need that time to recharge.” He goes trekking in mist-clad hills or just chills out someplace else. And, then there’s the Mr. Modest inside him who ensures that the fame never gets to his head.

Considering his theatre background and the fact that he entered the industry to become a director, is there hope of him ever doing both? “I would love to. But, I don’t know when. Theatre requires a commitment of at least six months, and I don’t have that kind of time now. As for direction, I can’t say anything now.”

So, which of the characters he has played is closest to his heart? “Difficult. I like Virumaandi, Majaa, Veyil, Mumbai Express, E…” As for Kuselan, the Rajni fan in him was delighted to share screen space with the legend. “I’ve always watched his films ‘first-day, first-show’ and this was no different,” he says.

The latest passion to occupy his time and mind is afforestation. Along with his friends, Pasupathy has so far planted more than 500 saplings across Chennai, exhorting people to do their bit to keep global warming at bay.



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