Movies

A mastermind at work

Veteran actor Thiagarajan talks to chitradeepa anantharam about what made the shooting days of Yeman enjoyable

Bharathiraja’s blockbuster hit Alaigal Oivadhillai (1981) marked the debut of Thiagarajan, Karthik and Radha. He debuted with a negative role, and being a versatile actor, he donned varied roles in his career spanning over 35 years. He went on to play the iconic title role in Malaiyoor Mambattiyan (1983). The 71-year-old actor, director and producer has worked with Balu Mahendra and Bharathiraja, and other leading directors for over three decades. Theechatti Govindan (1991) was the last film in which he played the lead role. He now makes a comeback with Yeman, directed by Jeeva Shankar, with Vijay Antony in the lead role.

Thiagarajan says he decided to give the nod, after he listened to the complete narration. It was not only the solid, strong role that lured him but also the manner of narration which impressed him. “I was shocked when the script was narrated. What a screenplay it was — every scene had a twist, and every actor brings in some energy and contributes to the way the story unravels. I understood the sheer hard work that has gone into such a script,” says Thiagarajan.

Talking about his role, he says, “It was challenging. It is a powerful role, but I had to underplay it. As many have assumed from the trailer, I don’t play the role of a politician, but a catalyst who masterminds his success,” he says.

The veteran says he was thoroughly impressed with the hard work and multitasking that both the director and the lead star of Yeman have done for the film. “I could see the result of two multi-talented persons working together, and it has resulted in a neat film with grandeur. Vijay Antony has excelled in the dance and stunt sequences. Shankar’s lighting, camera angle and perception of a scene is amazing and I used to go to the shooting spot even on days in which I had no scenes. I was amazed by his sense of cinematography and lighting. As a director, I thoroughly enjoyed observing the way he meticulously planned every scene.”

The actor observes that the dialogues in Yeman were unusual — neither cinematic nor colloquial, but somewhat different. “Apart from impressive dialogues, the film script is such that every role has significance and the director has meticulously hand-picked the cast. The movie is sure to bring to the fore actors like Jaikumar, Sangili Murugan, Marimuthu and Prince. I was in awe of their acting skills. Yeman is an action-packed high-voltage drama,” he says.

So will he be taking up more character roles going forward? “I pick and choose from a barrage of roles offered to me. I really liked my character in Bodyguard (Malayalam). I want my character to be powerful and dignified, sans any vulgar dialogues. Right now, I have just launched the remake of Jeeva Shankar’s Naan in Hindi with my son Prashanth in the lead, and one straight Hindi film again with my son. I have also roped in Vetriselvan (assistant of Jeeva Shankar) for a Tamil film with Prashanth as hero.”

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Printable version | Mar 20, 2020 12:56:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/A-mastermind-at-work/article17288295.ece

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