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S.R.ASHOK KUMAR

In his short career, Bharath has performed roles that are dramatically different. He wants to keep it that way.

When "Pattiyal" was released I was praised for my work

He danced his way into people's hearts. Bharath is now riding the crest of a success wave. If Shankar's "Boys" gave him the break, "Chellame" identified him as an actor with potential, someone who can emote. His Malayalam film "Four the People" was a big hit and "Kadhal" made him a household name. Finally, the Bharat-Arya duo swept the youth off their feet with "Pattiyal." Bharath remains level-headed, feet firmly planted on the ground. With characteristic candour, he talks about his entry into tinsel town and dreams about the future. Excerpts from an interview:Was cinema always your dream?Not at all. I was with Swingers when director Shankar saw me in one of the programmes. I was roped in for "Boys" and there was no looking back, to use a cliché. The anti-hero role came very early in your career. You had no qualms accepting the offer? It was a powerful role and the rest didn't matter. I'm prepared to essay any role provided it has a good banner, popular director and neat screenplay. Do you believe in homework? I do but not all roles demand homework. I try to be natural. For "Kadhal" I followed the director's instructions. But in "February 14," directed by Hosimin, it was Bharath you saw. "Pattiyal" was a different kettle of fish. In order to observe the deaf and mute, I went to the Little Flower Convent for the Deaf and Dumb and was with the students there for two hours a day for a week. It was educative in more ways than one. When the film was released I was praised for my work. But much of the credit goes to the director and the inmates of the school. Bharath is a successful artiste but ironically except "Kadhal" and now "Pattiyal" your films have not been major hits. Comment. Remember, I'm basically a dancer. Acting has been accidental. In the case of "Boys", the number of days it ran didn't matter to me so much. Anyway it is wrong to say that it failed at the box office. It did very well in Kerala and Andhra. "Four The People" was a smashing hit in Malayalam. The Tamil version ("Four Students") didn't disappoint the producer. The Telugu version "Yuvasena" (with Gopika) was a hit too. "Chellame" was noticed for the different story line and treatment and my performance was appreciated. It was "February 14" that didn't take off in spite of the big banner, talented cameraman and director. "Azhagai Irrukkirai Bayamai Irukkirathu" has met with a favourable response if early feedback is an indication. I'm happy that I've been doing different types of roles for directors talented in different ways. One cannot help harping on ``Kadhal." To what would you attribute its huge success? The credit for the success of "Kadhal" must be given to director Balaji Sakthivel. The greatest edge I got was my role touched everyone. I know because hundreds of them expressed empathy. Not many heroes would get to do a role that is as far reaching as I got in "Kadhal." It was a turning point and "Pattiyal" is another milestone. Incidentally "Premisthe," the Telugu version also was a big hit. That brings us to the aspect of two heroes. You really don't mind playing the second fiddle?I thought that after "Kadhal" I would never accept a two-hero subject. But I just couldn't refuse "Pattiyal." And I'm glad I didn't. But hereafter it is going to be a solo affair.How do you cope with your success? Well, the blessing is that it has not gone to my head. In an industry of fluctuating fortunes it would be foolish to gloat over success. My concern is retaining the position and I'm working hard for it. Have you ever heard words of appreciation from big artistes? Yes. I did get a lot of praise for "Kadhal." After seeing "Pattiyal" Vijay phoned to say that I was improving with each film. Vikram, Jyotika, Trisha, Suriya and others also have encouraged me. This gives me a great deal of strength and confidence. What are the projects you are working on at the moment? "Veyil" from director Shankar's film company is ready for release. Directed by Vasantha Balan, it is an emotionally charged film shot in Virudhunagar. I play a rough and tough character. I am associated with Satya Movies, one of the biggest production houses, and Satyajothi Films headed by Thygarajan, for "Emmton Magan." It is directed by Thirumurugan, well known on the small screen. Nasser is the Emdon, stickler for discipline, and I'm his son, totally opposite. "Chennai Kadhal" is directed by Vikraman and then there is "Koodal Nagar." Do you have favourites among actors and do you try to emulate them?Vijay, Vikram, Jyotika and Simran. I have no fixed ideas about acting. I observe the good points in all the leading artistes and try to improve myself. I believe in natural acting. I want to remain as an artiste who can do both commercial and the so-called offbeat roles. I would be happy with four or five releases until I establish myself. Afterwards it may be two or three good films.


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