I vividly remember the evening at Taj Connemara where Sivakarthikeyan was presenting a mimicry show as part of the first year celebrations of The Hindu ’s Cinema Plus. Ebullience turned into bashfulness, as Siva began imitating Dhanush. The actor had just entered and taken his seat in the first row, among the audience! He didn’t seem to mind it though, and enjoyed the humorous take on him. But the presence of mind with which Siva managed the situation was impressive.
Today Sivakarthikeyan is into films as a hero, but away from the arc lights I still sense some self-consciousness in him. “I lack self-confidence. That’s why I push myself into new areas of activity,” he begins. The paradox is confusing. “Yeah, isn’t it,” smiles the engineer, lively television host, inimitable mimicry artist, contestant on Vijay’s TV’s reality dance event not so long ago, and a hero who’s slowly but steadily climbing the success ladder. The purpose of the interaction is the soon-to-be-released Kedi Billa Killadi Ranga, which stars Vimal and Sivakarthikeyan in lead roles.
“Too lengthy names to type out, yours and the film’s,” I tell him.
“Whichever way I shorten it, it becomes the name of another actor. So I decided to let it be,” he laughs. (He allows my comment about the title to pass.)
Siva has broken the myth that familiar small screen faces can never have a promising opening in cinema. “I’ve got to thank Pandiraj for it. My debut with his Marina made the difference,” he acknowledges. On his part Siva also makes sensible choices. He did receive offers to act even before Marina , but he didn’t find them substantial enough to switch over from anchoring to acting. And Marina proved a wise move. That’s probably why he agreed to do Kedi Billa Killadi Ranga , also by Pandiraj, despite it being a two-hero subject. “I just go by the director’s words. He said he wanted me in and that was it,” he says. “Moreover, when I heard that the shooting was to be in my hometown, Tiruchi, I was terribly excited. Working with another hero can never be an issue for a beginner like me. In 3 , I appeared only in the first half. The chance to work with the Dhanush was itself a big break,” says Siva. Even in Marina his screen time was just about an hour. “The other hour was for the boys in the film.”
The experience at the work spot of KBKR has been invigorating for Siva. “Pandiraj can bring out the latent potential in actors. It’s such an energetic team. Vimal and Suri, who’s also in the film, have a great sense of humour. They were very friendly. Like other Pandiraj films, KBKR will be a treat for all ages, even kids. It’s healthy comedy all the way,” assures Siva. Regina, the young sister of Laila in Kanda Naal Mudhal , is paired with him.
Sivakarthikeyan is also working on Edhir Neechal , directed by Vetrimaaran’s assistant Senthil, and in an untitled film by Rajesh’s assistant Pon Ram — projects that guarantee hilarity. With his sense of timing in dialogue delivery, he is thought to be more suitable for light-hearted roles. So it was odd to watch him play the pining lover in Manam Kothi Paravai . “I was unsure about how a serious performance from me would be received. Thanks to director Ezhil I was able to pull it off,” he says.
KBKR sounds more like a film on the escapades of two comic wrongdoers, I hazard a guess. “Yeah, probably,” is the cryptic response.
Sivakarthikeyan doesn’t wish to divulge more about his next. I leave it at that.