Movies

‘Nobody believed in me’, says SJ Suryah

Playing villain in Spyder won’t deter his bigger plan to become a superstar, says SJ Suryah

SJ Suryah is a man who wears many hats. Yet, he insists that the only one that really matters to him is that of a hero. This week’s Spyder, in which he plays a villain, doesn’t really fit into that plan, says Suryah. But he has managed to find a silver lining. “SRK and Rajini sir too started out as villains, didn’t they?” he points out.

“I don’t know why I was offered Spyder,” he wonders out aloud when we meet him at his hotel room, where a series of interviews have been lined up. “AR Murugadoss is pan-India director and Mahesh Babu is a superstar...an ‘OK’ star like me has to jump at such an opportunity.”

Though he has played a protagonist in 10 films, he doesn’t call himself a hero...yet. “The real journey started with Isai,” he says. Along with Karthik Subbaraj’s Iraivi, these two films helped him mature as an actor. “I was a wild actor earlier. My films New and Anbe Aaruyire needed a wild performance, but I continued that in films that didn’t require that kind of acting. It was my mistake.”

But with Iraivi, he felt his acting come of age. “My acting has become more seasoned since then. It’s a role that got the ball rolling. Good directors too have finally recognised me an actor since then.”

What was it that really transpired in bringing about this transformation in him? “Somewhere after my first stint as a hero, I got stuck. So I decided to take a break and learn music for a year,” he says, adding, “If you feel stuck in your line you work, learn something new. It doesn’t just have to be music, learn karate if you feel your business is doing badly. A fresh perspective really helps.”

This, he feels, has given him new-found confidence and a feeling that he can do anything. A must, given his future plans. So when AR Murugadoss asked him to get six packs, “I did it in just six months.” He’s not afraid of the effort. “Give me ten years, I can become like Bruce Lee.”

With plans to become a legit superstar with a ‘market in three industries’, Suryah feels things have taken long, but the wheels have started turning. “In 1994, I gave myself 10 years to become a hero. And I did it with New. Superstardom in my next target.”

That’s the path he had to take back then, when ‘no producer or director believed in me’. “You have to first believe in yourself,” he explains, “Which other debutant has got a launch in Tamil cinema like I did?” he asks, “Who else would have got a Superstar director like SJ Suryah to launch an actor with music by AR Rahman, Simran as heroine, costumes by Manish Malhotra and also Devayani to play his mother?”, he laughs.

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Printable version | Jul 29, 2020 5:48:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/interview-with-sj-suryah-about-spyder-and-mahesh-babu/article19751595.ece

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