Soori interview on ‘Garudan’: I stopped getting comedy roles after ‘Viduthalai’

Actor Soori talks about his film ‘Kottukaali’, ‘Viduthalai’ and ‘Yezhu Kadal Yezhu Malai,’ which premiered at film festivals, and discusses how commercial outings like ‘Garudan’ are equally important

Updated - May 28, 2024 05:00 pm IST

Published - May 28, 2024 04:01 pm IST

Soori in a still from ‘Garudan’

Soori in a still from ‘Garudan’ | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Soori has hit a purple patch in his career. Not only did he turn kadhayin naayagan (the plot’s hero) last year with Vetri Maaran’s Viduthalai Part 1, but a slew of films he was part of also had a stellar run in the festival circuit.

The Viduthalai films had a special premiere at the Rotterdam Film Festival, where his Yezhu Kadal Yezhu Malai, helmed by Ram and co-starring Nivin Pauly and Anjali, also premiered. Another film starring Soori in the lead, Kottukaali — produced by Sivakarthikeyan and directed by PS Vinothraj (whose Koozhangal/ Pebbles was selected as the Indian entry for the Oscars in 2022) — premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Soori is visibly delighted about attending the premieres and mingling with a different audience from what he is used to. “Watching a film with our people gives a sense of satisfaction; that’s one experience. But to take our film across borders and oceans, and visit a theatre filled with hundreds of foreigners with me and the makers in the centre, is a different experience altogether. To see them dissect our films gave me so much joy,” says Soori.


Soori  | Photo Credit: Thamodharan B

“At Rotterdam where the Viduthalai films and Yezhu Kadal... premiered, festival goers were surprised to see me. When some of them came to Berlinale and caught Kottukaali, they were shocked to see me again. It’s rare for Indian films to get selected for these festivals and to see that I’m a part of multiple such films makes me happy,” he adds. “Their perspective and questions are different from what we are used to here. To retrace where I started from and see where this journey has taken me, feels like a dream.”

Soori believes that commercial films are equally important in this stage of his career and pins his hopes on Garudan. Viduthalai gave a different impression about me to the audience and the promotional material of my upcoming films might give a hunch on the sort of roles I’m getting. Garudan will be something between these films thanks to its commercial elements,” he says.

“My character Sokkan is stuck between loyalty and justice. It’s different from what I did in Viduthalai; this film also has a lot more action and emotion,” says Soori, pointing out how the action sequences are different from Viduthalai, yet still realistic. “This type of action is something I’m new to. I think people feel I’m doing back-to-back action films because of Viduthalai and the raw feel Kottukaali’s promotional material gave. But I wonder how that’s possible given just one such film has been released.”

A still from ‘Garudan’

A still from ‘Garudan’ | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Although Soori has worked in several Sasikumar-starrers like Udanpirappe, Kennedy Club, Poraali and Sundarapandian, Garudan might feel distinctly different for the audience considering the comedian-turned-lead actor is headlining the film. However, Soori says the dynamics have not changed, at least from his perspective.

“I’m very proud that Sasi anna is part of the film. He plays Aadhi while Unni Mukundan is Karna. We could not think of anyone else for the role of Aadhi,” says Soori. “He (Sasikumar) is a hero and I wondered how he would respond to being approached for this project. But we thought we should give it a shot and reached out through a common friend. Sasi anna happily agreed to do the film and questioned as to why I was apprehensive to approach him! At the shooting spot too, it didn’t feel like I was doing a lead role and anna was in my film; it felt like every other film with him in which I’m the comedian. He being a part of Garudan adds a lot of value to the film.”

Interestingly, after having Ilaiyaraaja compose music for Viduthalai, Yuvan Shankar Raja is the music director for Garudan. “Raja appa is an ulaganayagan and I got to work with him. Now, I got to work with his son who has made a mark for himself in the last 25 years. For all these years, many of our phone ringtones have featured his tunes and I feel lucky to have worked with him,” says Soori who also responds to how both those films and even Kottukaali feature female leads for him. “It happens to be a part of the story and it’s not that I’m demanding for one (laughs). I like how the romance isn’t over-the-top or over-saturated, but very practical and simple.”

When Viduthalai released, Soori mentioned how he would love to keep doing comedy films. “But now, I’m being approached for lead roles mostly. While I’m happy, I’m still up for a full-fledged comedy film but I have not gotten them. But that’s alright and I’m sticking to the roles I’m getting. It all comes down to connecting with the audience. I believe if I do something drastically different from what I’m capable of, it won’t sit well with them either. I judge myself based on what the audience thinks about me.”

A still from ‘Garudan’

A still from ‘Garudan’ | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

It has been 25 years since Soori made his acting debut and even after turning lead, he prefers to not have a plan for the type of films he chooses. “I wanted to become an actor and that happened. I never expected to become a film’s lead, but that has happened as well. Though what might happen after this is not in my hands, I know I want to be in a better position than what I am now, and have to work hard to get that,” says Soori.

We wrap up the conversation by asking about his upcoming films, which festival goers had the pleasure of catching earlier. “Kottukaali is planned to come out in August, and after September, they are planning to release Viduthalai Part 2. Yezhu Kadal... should also come out in between and I have also zeroed on three stories. After the release of Viduthalai, I will know which one will go on floors next.”

Garudan is slated to release in theatres on May 31

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