Movies

‘I owe it all to Anbu’

Five films in which Kalaiyarasan has played the lead role are completed and set for release this year. And his just-released Adhe Kangal, where he portrays the role of a visually-challenged chef, has been well-received. The star says that he has started working on scripts that he has handpicked, after gaining some experience by experimenting with different kinds of roles and genres.

Even though Kalaiyarasan has done minor roles in Attakathi, Mugamoodi and Madha Yaanai Koottam, and an important role in Arjunan Kadhali (shelved, not released), it was his role in Madras, directed by Pa. Ranjith, that propelled him to popularity. “Ranjith’s characterisation of Anbu (the role he played in Madras) is the reason why people took notice of me,” says Kalaiyarasan. For nearly seven years (prior to Madras), it was a big struggle for him, visiting production houses and handing over his portfolio. “When I visit producers and directors, usually I will be stopped at the entrance and one of the staff would collect the photos and send me away. Only a few directors would invite us in and meet us and Ranjith was one. He saw my photos and had a chat with me and gave some advice and guidance, and when there was an opportunity to cast me in Madras, he reached out to me.”

Talking about the preparation for donning the role of a chef who is visually challenged, in Adhe Kangal, he says “Director Rohin and his team had done extensive research and my character was inspired by MasterChef finalist Christine Ha, who was the first visually-challenged chef to participate in the event and win. I saw numerous videos of her and studied her body language and other detailing. But cinemakkaga konjam overacting seidhu nadichittennu ninaikiren,” says Kalaiyarasan.

How did he manage to complete almost six films in a year? Was it planned that way? “Not at all. After the success of Madras, it was give-back time. I worked with some friends who helped me during my struggling days. I was also testing waters. I did a negative role in Urumeen and I also tried comedy in Raja Manthiri, which I had signed prior to Madras. Now, I have started reading scripts and choosing and working in films that I wanted to work, and which suit me. Adhe Kangal was the first film that I chose to work in after Rohin narrated the script. Rohin’s narration style and clarity in thought impressed me and the film was shot in just 50 days.”

After Adhe Kangal, Kalaiyarasan committed to Kaalakkoothu along with Prasanna, directed by debutant Nagarajan. This was followed by Yeidhavan, directed by Sakthi Rajasekaran, China directed by Harshavardhana, who had assisted A.R. Murugadoss and Uru directed by Vicky Anand. “Yeidhavan, where I am paired with Pichaikaaran fame Satna Titus, is a family drama with a strong social message, and I play the role of Krishna, a small-time entrepreneur who manufactures money-counting machines. In China, Ritu Varma (of Telugu film Pelli Choopulu) is my pair. I play the role of Madhi, who owns a small shop in Burma Bazaar and the story is about the troubles he faces because of the shop. Uru is a psycho-thriller and I am paired with Dhansika,” he says.

Kaalakkoothu, which was completely shot in Madurai, is about friendship and love and family. Kalaiyarasan and Prasanna play best friends who have completely contrasting personalities.

Now, that sounds like a careful selection of characters and subjects. Kalaiyarasan has also completed shooting for C.V. Kumar’s next yet-to-be-titled film, a romantic comedy, where he has been paired with Kayal Anandhi and Ashna Zaveri.

How does he choose the films — is it the script or his character? “I understand my face-cut and personality is such that I am comfortable with boy-next-door or locality boy characters and I will easily fit into such kind of roles. Not heroic roles. I like to work in action and semi-commercial films. Kavidhayavum illama, rombo over masala vaa illama, somewhere in between I will fit in I guess. I focus on portraying characters that are relatable. But whatever roles I may do, Anbu was my lifetime role. I owe it all to Anbu. It is a character that is revered even today,” says Kalaiyarasan.


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Printable version | Aug 2, 2021 9:45:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/%E2%80%98I-owe-it-all-to-Anbu%E2%80%99/article17107931.ece

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