S.R. Ashok Kumar
Kalaingnar (M. Karunanidhi) told me that my Tamil diction is second only to that of Sivaji Ganesan and S.S. Rajendran. I see this compliment as an award.
(Vagai) Chandrasekar became popular in Tamil films over 25 years ago, as a friend of the hero in `Oru Thalai Ragam'. Over the years, he has distinguished himself in various roles. He has also dabbled in politics. Chandrasekar talks about his experiences, including those while working in a film in progress `Periyar'.
I am the youngest in my family, with two brothers and two sisters. While schooling in Dindigul, I used to bunk classes and go to watch movies.
I also used to read books from the Thandhai Periyar Mandram library. There I got introduced to the writings of Periyar, C.N. Annadurai and M. Karunanidhi. I enjoyed both, watching films and reading the works of such individuals.
I came to Chennai when my brother joined the College of Arts. His friends turned out to be popular art directors, and it was then that I got to know something about cinema. Meanwhile, I dabbled in stage plays back home.
Later, I joined the magazine `Thirai Vanan'. It was enjoyable as I used to see more world-renowned films by popular directors. Also, in Dindigul I used to act in plays re-enacting giants such as Sivaji Ganesan, MGR, Muthuraman and Manorama.
During that time Doordarshan Kendra was started in Chennai. I became close to television producers such as Gopali and Thanjai Vannan, and acted in some TV plays. The first time I saw my face on the screen was in a TV drama, and that too after travelling for more than 10 km from Mylapore to Vadapalani, where a friend owned a TV set.
I then met director Bharathiraaja, and as I became better acquainted with him he gave me an opportunity to act in a movie. It was a small part in `Puthiya Varpugal'. I continued to act in some of his best films such as `Niram Maratha Pookkal', `Kallukkul Eeram' and `Nizhalgal'. Then came `Oru Thalai Ragam' with directors Robert-Rajasekar.
It is 28 years since I entered the industry, and I have done big or lead roles in nearly 100 films and character roles in nearly 200 films.
Among them, I can name `Oru Thalai Ragam', Nizhalgal', `Palaivana Cholai' and `Sivappu Malli' as my favourites. I wanted to do only powerful roles, and was not bothered about whether they were big or small. That's one reason I did not get to work in a lot more films.
Like many others, I am a fan of Sivaji Ganesan, MGR, Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth. Among women, I can name Savithri and Jyotika.
I have received some awards for my acting from the Central and State Governments, including the `Kalaimamani' and `Kalaiselvam' awards.
But, I treasure an accolade from the Kalaingnar (M. Karunanidhi) the most. Two decades ago, he told me that my Tamil diction was second only to that of Sivaji Ganesan and S.S. Rajendran. This I see as an award. Then, I received the Kalaingnar award, which was given to me by Mr. Karunanidhi.
I want to act in good films, and be in the limelight for years to come. That's why I am doing the role of Ramanathan, a friend of `Periyar', in Gnana Rajasekaran's movie. It is an enjoyable experience to be part of the film.