Why aren’t you seen much in films these days?
So what? I’m always visible in one medium or the other. I’ve so far done more than 250 movies, nearly 6,000 stage performances and more than 35 TV serials. Right now, I’m acting in Seval, Pandhayam, Kandaswamy and Sahaptham and three more untitled films.
Why don’t you act in Kamal or Rajinikanth movies?
Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth are my true friends. They will never underestimate my talent. I will act with them only if the role is good, like I had done in the past.
Why aren’t your plays made into films these days?
Today’s movie makers are more interested in items than a good storyline, which is why good dramas are not made into films. But my recent play “Swadeshi Aiyar” is to be picturised soon by a corporate producer.
Is comedy the mainstay of films today?
Comedy has always been a plus point for Tamil films. But according to my guru Nagesh, there are two types of comedians — those whose TIME is good and those whose TIMING is good. I hope I belong to the second category.
There are several awards for stage productions but not as many for films. Why?
I have won many awards for my stage performances, but then I have also received ‘Kalaimamani’ and ‘Kalaivanar Virudhu’ from the Tamil Nadu Government and several from private organisations. Even a ‘Nandi’ award from the Government of Andhra Pradesh. But the biggest awardis the applause I get from my audience even today.
You directed a film (Kathai Kathaiyam Karanamam), but stopped with it…
Though I have directed several successful serials, I did just one film. Soon I plan to direct a significant film.
At the end of the day what would you like to be called — a stage, TV or cinema actor?
I am an all-rounder having done classic roles on stage, TV and in films. But I would be happy if I am called a complete actor and a die hard Sivaji Ganesan fan.S. R. ASHOK KUMAR