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Didn’t want to exit Raghuvaran’s world, says Dhanush about VIP 2

Dhanush

Dhanush   | Photo Credit: AFP

As the actor looks to expand his reach in Telugu cinema, he talks about straddling acting, writing and direction, and his first English film

Dhanush, who was in Hyderabad over the weekend, spoke to us about following up the hugely successful Raghuvaran B Tech (VIP or Velaiyilla Pattadhari in Tamil) with a second part, directed by Soundarya Rajinikanth.

Excerpts from the interview:

When you began working on VIP, did you expect it to have such a connect with the audience, engineering students and professionals in particular?

It started as a simple story, drawing from my experience when I was a student in 1999-2000. The film opens in that time, discussing how engineering was perceived as THE line for students to take. I had a basic plot and Velraj wrote and developed it further. I didn’t study beyond 12th but many of my friends took up engineering. Suddenly there were 5000-odd engineering colleges; everywhere you turned you came across engineering students. By the time they finished studying, it was no longer about engineering — you had to be part of the IT sector. Many ended up doing jobs unrelated to their studies. Since I come from that era and have seen what everyone went through, I was confident that students will relate to it. What I didn’t expect was VIP becoming something of a cult and one of my biggest hits.

We named my character after Raghuvaran, the late actor. His passing away affected me deeply. I had worked with him last in Yaaradi nee Mohini (remake of Aadavari Maatalaku Ardhale Verule).

The first story and the characters have a closure, so what spurred you on to write the second one?

I didn’t want to leave that character and that world, enakku manasu varala (I didn’t have the heart). The love story ends and the guy has a steady job, so there is a closure. I started afresh and wanted it to be as entertaining as the first part.

When was VIP2 written?

I was shooting for Dharma Yogi (Kodi in Tamil) in a village for 57 days. There was nothing to do after 6pm. I used that time to write three scripts, which included VIP2 and Power Pandi (his Tamil directorial which released early this year to warm response).

Soundarya Rajinikanth had mentioned that both of you considered another script of yours titled Nilavukku En Mel Ennadi Kobam before VIP2. How many scripts do you have ready to be made into films?

I have about five (laughs). I don’t know if I am a good, average or bad writer but I write fast. Everything I observe, my experiences and imagination come together while writing. I cannot obviously direct each one of those scripts, I am happy collaborating with directors.

Raghuvaran B Tech was a huge success in Telugu and suddenly, your older Tamil films were being dubbed and released...

Yes, that’s why I felt part two should be a straight Telugu film than a dubbed one. I spoke my lines in Telugu. I didn’t dub for it though, because the audience is used to listening to a certain voice speaking for me. I didn’t want to change it suddenly.

Are you familiar with Telugu?

Telugu words sounds familiar though I wouldn’t know the meaning in most cases. We share technicians between the two industries and I have several friends here. It was tough for the first few days and then I enjoyed myself.

Have you watched any of the recent Telugu films?

Not really, I hardly get the time. I’ve only watched Baahubali 2 and I can keep talking about it all this year.

Kajol jokingly stated in many interviews that you and Soundarya tricked her into believing she had to speak very few Tamil lines. Tell us about working with her.

She’s being funny when she says that. We told her it would 50-50 Tamil and English and in certain scenes the Tamil lines were lengthy. From day three she was at ease and on fire. I cannot see anyone else as Vasundhara. When you have an excellent actor like her, it elevates your performance as well.

You are at a position where you receive scripts from different languages, what dictates your choices?

It differs from language to language. In Tamil and Telugu, I have to do mainstream commercial films. Irrespective of what I want to do, the audience wants to see me in that ‘mass’ space. Kodi did so well and I am doing Maari 2 next. There’s a part of me that wants to explore something new as an actor and I can do that in Hindi, maybe a rom-com. And I’ve just completed shooting for my first English film, The Extraordinary Journey of The Fakir (the Ken Scott film also features Uma Thurman). It was a fantastic, fascinating experience. It was a different world and was actually a relief.

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 3:00:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/dhanush-talks-about-about-vip-2/article19341836.ece

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