Cinema

Friend paves the way

Srikanth  

His ring tone — ‘En Frienda Pola Yaaru Machchaan’ — says enough about the impact his role in Nanban has made on his career. “A set for Edhiri Enn 3 is being put up and so I’m playing with my daughter today. But we can talk,” Srikanth told me. Son Aahil and daughter Aahna attend playschool. With Nanban, the actor has raised the bar, has become more prudent in his choice of roles, and is quite a happy man now.

Srikanth’s years in the industry can be divided into two — pre and post Nanban. “Yeah, Nanban was the much-needed bottle of glucose that was given to me at the right time. The rejuvenation has done wonders to my morale as an actor. It has also given me the confidence to work in multi-starrers,” he laughs. More importantly, it has made him cautious about his future projects. “Very true, it’s more than four months since Nanban and I haven’t signed a new project yet, because I have to retain the name the film has earned for me.”

He had begun working on Paagan and Edhiri Enn 3, his next two releases, even during the making of Nanban. “ Paagan is gearing up for a July release,” he informs. “ Nanban has made me realise that humour works really well. Paagan is a rom-com and Edhiri Enn 3 is a crime thriller. I want to begin branching out into other genres.”

A fighter

Romance has been Srikanth’s forte since his debut with the smash hit, Roja Koottam. “I’ve also tried action-oriented roles in Bose and Sathurangam.” Bose had a 100-day run in Telugu. But in Tamil it came a cropper. “It’s disheartening when good films and hard work fail at the box office,” he adds. Do disappointments bog him down? “I’m a fighter, and I count my blessings. I was nobody before Roja Koottam and I’ve survived lows with the thought that better days are round the corner. Thankfully, it has been so.”

Srikanth has had a string of successes in Tamil — Parthiban Kanavu, April Maadhathil and more. He’s aware that action films can take him closer to the masses. “That’s another positive outcome of Nanban. Vijay’s fan base permeates through to the last stratum of viewers. So my presence in a Vijay film has helped me reach all strata. Nanban has taken me to a different plane, one that I yearned for,” smiles Srikanth.

When the original is a great success as Three Idiots was, the remake cannot escape comparison. “Yeah, I was expecting it, because Madhavan, whose role I had replicated in Nanban, had done a fabulous job,” he says. The son’s emotional outburst at home was a scoring point for Madhavan, and like all who were familiar with Three Idiots, I remember watching Srikanth’s performance in the scene, keenly. He did acquit himself quite well. “After the shot, Shankar patted me and said it will be one of the talking points in the film. It was, and I was thrilled when the audience at the cinemas received it with applause. I owe it all to director Shankar,” he acknowledges.

For an actor who deliberates a lot before signing on the dotted line, he has made some choices that went terribly awry — Indra Vizha, for example. “Post Uyir, I sensed a slight lull. When you wait too long, suddenly you get desperate because you begin to feel that you may not be in the reckoning if you give too much gap between films. That’s when mistakes happen,” he explains. “But now I’m clear about my course of action.”

Then why did he play a villain in his recent Malayalam release, Hero? For one, Prithiviraj is a good friend who even gave up a project to play the anti in K.V. Anand’s Kanaa Kandaen, in which I was the hero. So it was in the Telugu film, Police Police. I was just returning the good gesture by taking up the role in the film where he was the protagonist. Secondly, it was in a different industry. But it is not as though I would continue playing the baddie in Malayalam,” he clarifies.

When does he plan to sign his next Tamil film? “I’ve zeroed in on a couple of projects. The announcements should come out soon.”


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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 10:52:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/friend-paves-the-way/article3562721.ece

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