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With Arumugam set for release next week, actor Bharath opens up on ‘real’ scripts, working with reputed directors, trying hip-hop in films and more. t. krithika reddy listens in

Actor Bharath is busier than a bee buzzing over the honeycomb. Despite back-to-back shooting schedules, he takes time off for a nakhra-free chat. His last film Seval was many moons ago. Arumugam, slated for release next Friday, has a big canvas, and is directed by famous director Suresh Krissna. Over to the oh-so-buoyant Bharath:

ABOUT ARUMUGAM It’s a film with all the ingredients of a mass entertainer. When the director narrated the script, I liked it instantly. Arumugam is about a simple boy, who loves his mother deeply. He cannot come to terms with her death. Ramya Krishnan plays the powerful antagonist a la Nilambari in Padayappa. The clash between her and the hero forms the crux of the film. There’s a smorgasbord of emotions involved.

DIRECTOR’S CUT Suresh Krissna is an unassuming director. Despite having done scores of successful films involving top stars, there’s an air of amiability about him. I’m used to a loud school of acting. But here, he taught me to emote with my eyes. The film is replete with subtle emotions. It was a learning experience.

ROMANTIC RENDEZVOUS The love portions involving Priya Mani and myself are laced with humour. She’s a natural actor and our on-screen chemistry is good.

JAB HE COPIED There is so much buzz about Kanden Kadhalai, a remake of Bollywood hit Jab We Met. It’s a tricky job to re-do a film that’s made a huge impact on the audience. There’s no point in tweaking the script or improving upon someone’s acting. So we just stuck to the original, except for some minor changes to suit our milieu. I did what the Hindi film lead Shahid Kapoor had done. I just copied his nuances. I knew if I tried something new, the soul of the script would be lost. I’m happy the film has been acquired by Sun Pictures.

UPCOMING FILMS My Thambikku Intha Ooru with director Badri is about a foreign-born hero who tries to trace his roots. Again a commercial entertainer, the script travels from one location to another. The other film I’ve been pencilled in for is Tiruthani. It’s special because it’s my second film with director Perarasu (after Pazhani). It’s about a carefree hero who is suddenly faced with responsibilities.

STEPS TO FAME Yes, dance did help me gain recognition in showbiz. Till today, people remember me as the boy in Boyz who danced with gay abandon. I am trying to experiment with different Western genres. In Thambikku Intha Ooru for instance, I’ve tried a bit of hip-hop. It’s time we tried other forms as well — instead of just following our filmi/ folk steps. With the right music and interesting camerawork, dance numbers can enhance a film.

REAL’ FILMS I think Tamil cinema is getting more real. Film makers are realising the importance of realism. Some of the recent sleeper hits have proved that you don’t need velvety visuals, flamboyant song sequences or unbelievable action to make a film work. What’s important is the script. It has to be close to reality to strike a chord with the audience. I watched Nadodigal recently, I was bowled over by its fresh script and simplicity.

VARIETY FARE I’ve been lucky to have worked with so many reputed directors. And it so happened that my scripts have traversed a wide range — from offbeat stories (think Veyil and Emdan Magan) to commercial potboilers (think Pazhani, Seval and Nepali). I had no godfather in the industry. It was director Shankar who realised my dancing potential and signed me up for Boyz. My career graph shows a mixture of hits and misses. I’ve taken the rough-and-tumble of tinsel town in my stride. Thankfully, hardwork pays. And I’m here to stay — sans regrets. Twenty films in seven years is a good number, you’d agree.

Imtiaz on me

When Jab We Met fame Imtiaz Ali saw portions of the songs shot for Kanden Kadhalai, he was very impressed. At the audio release function, he said he was waiting to see how the Tamil remake would shape up. And now, having seen the teaser, he congratulated me and added I dance very well.


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