Actor Shiva awaits the release of his first feature film ‘Mr Success’

Actor Shiva Pritham, who featured in YouTube channel Black Pasanga’s web series, ‘Kaal Kattu’, is getting ready for his first film release

Updated - April 04, 2022 12:38 pm IST

Published - April 04, 2022 10:38 am IST

Shiva Pritham

Shiva Pritham

Coimbatore has a long-standing presence in Tamil cinema through its filmmakers, technicians, and artists. The city, which once housed bustling film studios, might not be the power centre for films it used to be. But its import of talent has scarcely stopped. The latest in this lineup is Shiva Pritham, who is awaiting the release of his first feature, Mr Success, by first-time filmmaker Vijay Chakravarthy.

Actor Shiva Pritham

Actor Shiva Pritham

The trailer of the film was released by veteran filmmaker K Bhagyaraj last week at Blacksheep Digital Awards 2022.

Though Mr Success will mark Shiva’s debut in feature films, he is not empty of experience and skill. He played one of the leads in YouTube channel black pasanga’s web series, Kaal Kattu. He has also featured in several short films and music videos. To upskill himself, he joined Koothupattarai two years ago.

Shiva’s story of how he got into acting is not unique. “From an early age, my parents put me in various extracurricular activities. When I was at college (he did Robotics and Automation Engineering), I thought I should explore the artistic side of me. So, I got myself involved in music videos and short films my friends made.”

The story of an engineering graduate entering films has become a cliche in Tamil cinema. But Shiva’s answer to why he wants to be an actor is more interesting. Playing different characters, he says, helps him understand more about himself. “I am vicariously living other people’s lives and experiencing their feelings, which are different from my own feelings. By being different people, I get to access and express all kinds of emotions. It is, in a way, rejuvenating.”

Move to Chennai

Shiva chose to take up a job in Coimbatore after graduation in 2015. “There is no fixed or steady income in films, when you are starting out. I have to pay out of my own pocket for things like costumes and make-up,” he says, “So, I worked while I was hunting for chances.”

He took up most of the opportunities that came his way, including Kaal Kattu. But he soon realised Chennai is the hotspot for cinema. So, in 2017, he moved there after finding a job. The relocation paid dividends soon. “The amount of opportunities increased. It was easier for me to meet people even if they called me at a short notice.”

He also began expanding his network. “I started working with Black Sheep YouTube channel. I built a good rapport with the team. There I got to learn about what goes on behind the camera. As an actor, it is important to know those things too.”

When Black Sheep made their first feature, Nenjamundu Nermaiyundu Odu Raja, Shiva got to interact with Sivakarthikeyan, who produced the film. “He is someone who had no connections to cinema when he arrived but became a big star on his own. When you meet such people, who have made the journey you are trying to make, you can get to know the dos and don’ts from them.”

Learning from the best

Another significant moment in Shiva’s acting pursuit after moving to Chennai was joining Koothuppatarai. That place changed his perception of acting. It was, for him, a huge learning curve, which still continues.

The mentors at Koothupattarai, he explains, broke down acting into its constituents — voice acting, body language, character study among others. There were exercises to improve on each of these areas. 

“There I learnt that acting is not just about your facial expressions. Your whole body should be involved in the process. A bus conductor, for instance, has a particular body language. So, if I am playing a bus conductor, I should observe that on a daily basis and imbibe that. Only then can I express that body language authentically.”

The two years at Koothupattarai, he reckons, have vastly improved his acting skills. “I can see the difference myself.” It got him ready for his first feature.

Also, like some of the other senior actors from the Koothupattarai stable, including Vijay Sethupathy, Shiva says he is not keen on stardom

“I want to be a versatile performer and an entertainer,” he says, “People spend their time and money to see you. So, you are obligated to entertain them. At the same time, you want to satisfy your own interests and expectations as a performer. I will try to strike a balance between the both.”

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