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How Ajith helped Arun Vijay get in shape

A still from 'Yennai Arindhal'

A still from 'Yennai Arindhal'  

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The actor talks about starring with Ajith in Yennai Arindhaal, how he went about acquiring his six-pack abs and more…

Arun Vijay has been in the film industry for 18 years. He’s done films in many genres, featured as solo hero in several films and played major roles in multi-starrers. But, what turned out to be one of the most unforgettable moments in his life was when director Gautham Menon called him for a project nine months ago.

The film, Yennai Arindhaal, had Ajith in the lead, and Arun playing a powerful role.

“For me, it was like a dream come true,” recalls Arun, “After Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu, Gautham hadn’t touched the action genre and we, as fans, were waiting for it. He’s an amazing guy when it comes to handling action and romance. The character he gave me was a challenge and I took it up in all earnestness. Every day of the shoot was fun.”

But it wasn’t easy. There was pressure on him from day one to perform, considering the expectations from this project. “The very first scene I shot was a combination sequence with Ajith sir; I was nervous,” he admits. “But once I completed it, both Thala and Gautham heartily congratulated me. I knew I was in the groove,” he says.

Getting the look of his character was the first challenge. “I used to do shoots just out of interest and send them to Gautham sir, who chose a rough look,” he says. “It’s a time-travel story and I have a couple of looks in it. Ajith sir has four.”

The last nine months of shooting have been hectic, but for Arun, it has been a thorough learning experience. “The best gift I had was the time spent with Ajith sir. There’s a lot of positive energy in him. His self-confidence and willpower — we all know about the back surgeries he’s been through and the way he’s bounced back — are amazing.”

It was his admiration for the star that strengthened Arun’s determination to build up his physique for the film, and achieve the dream ‘six-pack’. That was possible, thanks to working out at the gym for more than six hours a day and being on a high-protein diet. “Ajith sir told me that I was blessed to have such a physique. I wanted to have a six-pack to surprise him. Once, during the shoot, he looked at me and said, ‘Your body language is so Alpha male.’ It made me feel very happy.”

Speculation is rife that he’s playing a character with shades of grey, and Arun just grins when we ask him that. “Nobody even knows my name in the film yet! People who watched the trailer guessed I was a Christian, but that’s about it. It’ll be a surprise package,” is all he’s willing to say.

Arun has another movie titled Vaa Deal coming up and is hoping for its release soon. “My last film, Thadaiyara Thaakka, gave me a new dimension as an actor,” he says, “And then, there was a gap… but now, there’s Yennai Arindhaal. Several people who saw the trailer said, ‘Thala steals the show, but you neatly strike a balance.’ It was good to hear that. This film will have a wider reach and make audiences think, ‘Where was this guy till now?’”

What's cooking?

Arun Vijay and Ajith share a passion for cooking. “We all know that Ajith is a good cook. His biryani is popular in film circles. But, I missed sampling it on the set when he cooked it. And then, one day, he whipped up a biryani in just 15 minutes. Though I was on a diet and off rice, I just had to eat it… and it was delicious. But one day, I too set up a barbeque for the entire team. Ajith sir was zapped and was curious to know how I’d gone about making it.”

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Printable version | Nov 19, 2018 7:40:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/how-ajith-helped-arun-vijay-get-in-shape/article6771771.ece

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