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Sharing space with Kabali

Kalai says he loves essaying “real” characters because they allow him to delve deep and create an impact on screen.

Kalai says he loves essaying “real” characters because they allow him to delve deep and create an impact on screen.  

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Actor Kalaiyarasan talks about his rise in Kollywood and being part of Superstar Rajinikanth’s upcoming film with director Ranjith

One film can change an actor’s life and Kalaiyarasan is living proof of that. Before Madras, he was just a wannabe actor, getting paid daily wages of Rs. 200. Today, he has signed up for a clutch of films, including Superstar Rajinikanth’s Kabali.

The actor, who is busy prepping for his role in the Pa. Ranjith directorial, says he had no idea he was even being considered for it. “I was just delighted that Ranjith anna was doing a film with Superstar. Ranjith is a lovely person — he used to talk to us struggling actors when others would not even acknowledge us — and I was happy his ability was being recognised. It was much later that he told me I would be a part of the film. I would have even been happy standing in a corner of a frame with Rajini sir,” he says.

Kalai holds Ranjith and Mysskin in high esteem, and credits them with his success. “They moulded me and created Kalai the actor,” he says. “Even when everyone questioned his decision to cast me as Anbu in Madras, Ranjith persisted. Anbu helped me grow as an actor; there were so many variations to that role.”

The actor has wrapped up his work in the much-awaited Urumeen, where he plays the negative lead. “I have very few dialogues, but it is a very interesting movie. My character swears by money, and feels he will die if he loses to anyone,” he says. Next up for Kalai is Raja Mandhiri, a romcom with rural overtones, and Jinn ( Darling 2), which is about five friends on a trip and what happens when one of them is possessed. He’s also teaming up with Prasanna for a Madurai-based film on friendship. Finally, there’s China, in which he plays a middle class man who owns a shop in Burma Bazaar.

Kalai says he loves essaying “real” characters because they allow him to delve deep and create an impact on screen. It’s also a throwback to his lower-middle class background. “I just want to be called a good actor. And, I need to choose roles that offer me the scope to act, in films that celebrate a good story.”

He feels that he has achieved more than what he expected. “Earlier, I would go from office to office with my photographs. Today, I get to listen to a new narration almost every day. I had a free calendar once; today, I’m juggling dates,” he smiles.

Kalai is grateful his family backed him. “You need that most. When I was seeing Priya (he later married her), I was in and out of jobs. She supported me. Her parents gave her in marriage to me when I was without a job. My parents were worried about what I would do with my life, but today, my father tells everyone that he is Kalai’s appa.

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Printable version | Oct 15, 2018 8:44:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/actor-kalaiyarasan-on-being-part-of-superstar-rajinikanths-upcoming-film/article7645507.ece

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