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The wait is over

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He drummed up support for the Boys and sang for some stars too. But Kaadhalil Vizhundaen might just be the kind of break actor Nagulan was looking forward to

For someone like actor-singer Nagulan (a.k.a Nakul), a hat is just a style statement. He doesn’t talk through it. This down-to-earth, never-say-die brother of actor Devayani, who has been biding his time to make it as hero, will finally realise his dream when Kaadhalil Vizhundaen hits the screens today.

“I pinch myself in disbelief. When I see the trailers on television, I ask myself, ‘Hey Nakul! Is that you?’” gushes the youngster. “I waited for four years after Boys. I wasn’t interested in cameos. When first-time director Prasad offered me the role of a hero, I was shocked. He said it was a big risk for both of us. I was a little nervous because of my weight, but he liked my mischievous smile. Together we took the plunge. What you will see in two-and-a-half-hours is actually the result of two years of back-breaking work. Now, is that fair?” chuckles the vivacious actor.

As far as Nakul is concerned, there’s already an ineffable satisfaction of having tasted success. “Yes, I think the wait is over. The Nakka Mukka number has become a huge hit. Kaadhalil Vizhundaen is an engrossing romance. I play a youngster who risks so much to win the woman he loves. The director’s treatment of the subject is sure to grip cine-goers.”

Having made his debut as one of the Boys in director Shankar’s blockbuster, Nakul has been through the rough and tumble of showbiz. “I was a happy-go-lucky guy just enjoying eating (it showed!) and gaming, when the call came for doing Boys. Post-Boys, I thought it would rain offers. But they didn’t even trickle in! So I went to Telugu to try my luck there. But my debut bombed at the box-office, and I was so depressed. By then weight had also become an issue. I was hitting100 kg. I had to do something to make up for lost years. I began rigorous workouts and following a strict diet. When I was signed for Kaadhalil Vizhundaen, director Prasad told me I should look totally toned and that even my veins should show in the action sequences. I took it up as a challenge. Now, workouts have become an integral part of my life. I’m not longing for a six-pack, but I want to stay healthy and look my age!”

Talk about his other side, and songster Nakul coos, “Thanks to director Shankar who discovered I could sing. I was shocked when I got a call from Rahman’s studio during the shooting of Boys. My joy doubled when I was again recommended by Shankar to Harris Jayaraj for Anniyan. From then on, I’ve been singing bits and pieces here and there (remember ‘Karka Karka’ in Vetaiyadu Vilaiyadu). But my singing career too didn’t take off as expected. So I’m pinning my hopes on Kaadhalil Vizhundaen. There are butterflies in my stomach!”

Sibling stories from showbiz are not new. But the Devyani-Nakul one is interesting. “I’ve seen my sister do three and even four shifts a day. But I never realised the effort. She would deliver pages of dialogue in a language that’s not hers and still look forward to the next day’s work. I learnt perseverance from her. She’s given me tips on the personal and professional levels.”

Quiz him on his future films and he sounds positive. “Suddenly, I’m getting busy. I’ve been signed for another film produced by Sun Pictures. Then, there’s a film I’m doing with Reliance. I’ve also been offered a film by director Gautam Menon.”

Now, looks like he’s never going to hang up his hat!

Short takes...

HUH SPROUTS! Yes, I virtually lived on them. Now, I don’t even want to think about the diet chart I followed.

SOULFUL NOTES I sing from the heart. I was a bathroom singer till director Shankar spotted me.

NAKKA MUKKA The song became so famous, it made us feel nervous. So we went for a re-shoot. I rehearsed for 20 days with master Sridhar. I had dislocated my shoulder twice during the making of the film. So the steps were carefully chosen.

T. KRITHIKA REDDY


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