Cinema

‘Turning producer has kept me alive’

Vishal in Paayum Puli

Vishal in Paayum Puli  

Paayum Puli is your second film with Suseenthiran in just two years. Why did you choose to work with him again?

It might sound like a cliché, but it was the script. He wrote Paayum Puli with me in mind, and narrated it when we were working on Pandiya Naadu. As an actor, it’s not just about choosing a great script to work on, but also believing that the director is capable of turning it into a good film. I have that gut feeling about Susee. That’s why I chose to work with him in Pandiya Naadu,even though he had just come out of the failure of Rajapattai.

Paayum Pulii s a cop story. Do all your films need to be action-oriented?

Yes, I feel my films must have a lot of action. People come in to watch my films, expecting it. But I’ve always remained open to working in non-action subjects as well, and Avan Ivan is proof of that. But if I now choose to work on an offbeat film, I guess I’ll have to produce it myself. You’ve been quite successful as a producer. Do you think of yourself as a good businessman?

Turning producer has been the only calculative decision I have taken after entering cinema. I believe that actor Vishal exists today because of producer Vishal. Back in 2012, when two of my films got stuck, I wondered why my career should be dependent on other producers and so, took the plunge myself. It was a gamble; but I guess it paid off.

As for being a businessman, my efforts have so far been only aimed at reviving my acting career. But with things getting better now, it’s probably time to start making money by funding other films.

What are the advantages of a star producing his own films?

I’m a hands-on producer. I believe in setting a release date and then working backwards. With a lot of pre-production, we’ve managed to keep budgets down and stick to deadlines. When I produce my own films, as I don’t have to pay myself, we have more money to make a better film. That’s why the ‘Vishal-Hari’ and ‘Vishal-Suseenthiran’ combinations have resulted in viable films. After turning producer, I’ve realised how much better a film becomes when you spend more money on its making rather than on one person’s remuneration.

Your films have a market in Andhra as well. This is not something too many Tamil stars have managed.

I have to thank my father for that. It was his dream that I become a star in the Telugu industry. My market there is almost as big as it is here.

It is partly because of the kind of films I do, but it is also because of the effort I put in to promote my films there. I feel the audiences in both states are similar; so we don’t make any special changes. We just choose artistes who’re identifiable in both states. It also helps that I’m Telugu and I dub myself for my films.

Are you worried that your entering Nadigar Sangam politics will affect your films?

I don’t think so. Contesting in the Nadigar Sangam elections is not something I’m doing because I’m power-hungry. I’m doing it for the satisfaction I feel when I do something good. It’s for the justice that I believe all the members deserve.

A decade in the industry has toughened me and has also given me a lot of patience.

These things don’t make me nervous. The only time I’m nervous is just before I choose a film.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 10:55:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/turning-producer-has-kept-me-alive-actor-vishal/article7544270.ece

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