chatline Arun Vijay opens up about Thadaiyara Thaaka which is set to hit the screens soon.malathi rangarajanwrites…
Being a thorough professional, actor Arun Vijay always goes the extra mile to look convincing in the roles he plays. Seventeen films strong, he's still the same zest-filled hero I'd known him as in the early stages of his career. His excitement is palpable as we settle down to discuss Thadaiyara Thaaka , his latest film that is all set to roll out. “I'm quite kicked about TT because it's in a genre I've not done before — a suspense thriller. Spontaneity will be its mainstay,” says Arun.
He had gone completely commercial in his last two releases — Malai Malai and Maanja Velu . “The films did well but I decided it was time to shift gear to classier attempts and woo multiplex audiences too. That was when Magizh Thirumeni, a Gautam Menon assistant, came up with the script of TT , and I fell for it,” says Arun. “ TT 's racy screenplay is bound to keep audiences glued to their seats. I play Selva, owner of a travel agency.”
But Maanja Velu wasn't as big a success as Malai Malai , and could well be the reason for Arun going in for a genre that's different. “Not exactly, MV was a grosser in the B and C centres. Probably, in the cities, the timing of its release was wrong. A couple of other films came out in the week that followed MV ,” he says.
The hero plays a lefty in TT . Acting as a left hander must be a challenge, particularly in the action segments. “Very true, fighting was anything but easy, as reflexes had to be contained. There's this sequence where I had to lift a heavy rod with my left and attack the enemy. It was a challenge to stop the rod in time from hurting the opponent because using the left was new to me and the hand actually didn't seem to know when to stop,” he laughs. But he has managed without any major calamity! “I rehearsed a lot, and ‘Anal' Arasu, our stunt choreographer, has done a brilliant job of the action.”
As TT has plenty of stunt sequences, Arun thought the impact would be more if he displayed his six-pack abs. But Magizh vetoed it. “No Arun, taking off your shirt could appear cinematic. Everything about your heroism has to look true-to-life,” he said. “Now, when I see the final output, I understand he was right,” smiles Arun.
TT has been in the making for a year and a half now. For an actor who is raring to go, the delay must have been frustrating. Issues such as family squabbles and the prolonged heroine hunt were cited as the reasons. “I wasn't even in the country during the crisis at home. But it was disconcerting, nevertheless. As for the heroine, we had fixed Prachi Desai soon after Once upon a Time in Mumbai . Frankly I don't know what went wrong — some miscommunication perhaps — but she was out of the project. So we had to scout for another face. Mamta Mohandas had been one of our initial choices, but my office was unable to contact her then. This time round we found her, and she was thrilled with the script. Only that she was very busy in Malayalam. Dates had to be sorted out, but soon she was on board,” Arun explains.
The cast of Malai Malai and Maanja Velu boasted of established names such as, Prabhu, Prakash Raj and Santhanam. “We went in for almost the same cast and crew for the two films. But Magizh felt fresh faces would enhance the suspense element in TT ,” he says. Auditions for even single-scene roles went on for nearly two months. “Such is the diligence of Magizh,” commends Arun. “He had wanted this story to be his debut. [Magizh Thirumeni's entry as director was with Mundhinam Paarthaenae .] It took me just two days to understand his style of working, after which it's been a breeze.” Vamsi Krishna, the villain of Gharshana ( Khaaka Khaaka in Telugu), makes his bow in Tamil with TT . “The other baddie is played by Gandhi.”
Gandhi? “In the film his name is Maha, so now he's Maha Gandhi,” smiles Arun. And remember actor Murugadas in Aadukalam ? He is Arun's friend here.
The music, a talking point
Thaman's music should be a talking point of TT — the film has L.R. Easwari crooning for a duet and it's Arun who sings with her! “I've sung four lines. It was Thaman's idea. Easwari's ‘Kalasala' in Osthe was a chartbuster and Thaman wanted to have her sing this song too. The range of her voice is unique.” TT will have just two songs. “And both occur in the first hour,” Arun adds.
I've always felt that with his talent and industry, Arun should have scaled higher. But post Malai Malai, things appear rosy. “That's because my father-in-law, Dr. N. S. Mohan, got into film production, and so I've got the freedom to select scripts. His Feather Touch Entertainments came forward to produce MM .” TT is its third production.
Why such a tongue-twister of a title? “It means, breaking all barriers. The line is from ‘Kanda Sashti Kavacham.' Initially, we thought we'd change it. But we couldn't find one that's as suitable as Thadaiyara Thaaka . Once you watch the film, you'll understand the relevance,” is the reply.
And on a summing up note he says, “Commercial and classy, Thadaiyara Thaaka is suspense and thrill assured.”