Unveiling a reclusive genius

Abhinay Vaddi as Srinivasa Ramanujan   | Photo Credit: Handout_E_Mail

Having grown up without showing much interest in cinema, Abhinay Vaddi, grandson of yesteryear heartthrobs Gemini Ganesan and Savitri, is set to make his debut as the lead in the biopic on the genius mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan.

The film Ramanujan, directed by award-winning film-maker Gnana Rajasekaran, is set to release this Friday.

In an interview with The Hindu, the young actor said: “Cinema was never a part of my life until recently. Nobody in my family nudged me to get into movies. In fact my grandfather, an ardent sports enthusiast, was responsible for fanning my interest in table tennis, which I played at the national level.”

Keeping alive a legacy

When did he decide he wanted to give movies a try? “I thought getting into movies was one way of keeping the legacy of my grandparents alive,” he said.

Ecstatic about getting chosen to immortalise a great mathematician, the actor said, “It is interesting that people in Tamil Nadu don’t know much about him but those in the University of Cambridge, where we shot, understand the importance of his contribution to the world. It was a challenge because I play someone who was a loner, a man of a few words, cerebral, proficient in music and witty – all at the same time. It was worth it.”

With the director insisting on shooting the film in the chronological order, the actor had to give it all, “I had to gain weight to look like Ramanujan and lose weight consistently to act in scenes depicting his life after he left for Cambridge. I had to put on 25 kg and lose them in a matter of weeks. It was tough,” he says.

When asked if he thought whether one could make an honest attempt to capture a public personality in their complexity in films, Abhinay answered in the negative, “In this film, the narrative is not taken from one single book, but from a number of different sources. It is true that in India, unlike the West, there is always a demand to sanitise the image of great people. And, then there are constraints imposed by the market. But we need to keep trying,” he says.

Will he ever act in an honest biopic on his own grandfather, Gemini Ganesan?

“I have already been offered the opportunity to write books about him. But, I have plans to do a film too,” he says.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2021 8:41:47 PM |

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