`The audience has raised the bar'

Actors Vishal and Jeeva on movies and masti

Dishyum, Dishyum, Dishyum... Kollywood's happening duo Vishal and Jeeva mock-fight during the photo shoot. It's time to indulge their wacky side. While Vishal twists his moustache in trademark action hero style, Jeeva flashes his characteristic incandescent smile. The shoot goes on at Taj Connemara. Later, they retreat to a quiet corner at Distil to chat. Boys turn men. Thoughts roll out on their doting dads, films, multiplexes and girlfriends. T. Krithika Reddy tunes in... Vishal Mmm... . "Pori" parakkudhu. (Laughs) Where do I start? After "E", what was your expectation of "Pori?" Jeeva Every success makes you more responsible. It recharges you. "Pori" shaped out well. Hope the viewers like it. Vishal What are your other films this year? Jeeva There's "Tamizh M.A.", "Thenavattu" and "Rameshwaram." Vishal That's nice, most of your directors are new. Jeeva I'm following the trend set by my dad (R. B. Chaudhary). He has introduced 30 directors. Okay, tell me, isn't it your dream to play a fantasy role? Vishal Yes, like Superman or Spiderman. That's a genre Tamil cinema needs to explore. Also sequels. With the multiplex culture catching on, such films might become a reality. Jeeva And even films without the usual boy-girl romance. Vishal These days, there's greater acceptance for offbeat attempts. The audience has raised the bar. Jeeva How do you choose your films? They all have mass appeal. Vishal My repertoire should have variety. The reason for doing "Tamirabarani" was the comic moments. Comedy is a challenge. "E" had quite a bit of it. Jeeva Yes, I was inspired by Johnny Depp. Just love him. Vishal: So, which heroine (shouts into the tape recorder) does Jeeva like to act with? I've heard people say that you have to give it to Jeeva when it comes to romance. (Laughter) Jeeva We have to press the pause button here. (Smiles) Vishal Okay, tell me, which of your films was rated best by your father? Jeeva "Raam". He was happy that it got me an international award at the Cyprus Film Festival. I had slogged for one-and-a-half years and desperately needed a hit. Vishal I remember watching the film in a theatre. It was so engrossing. For the first 20-minutes, nobody stirred. Jeeva You play a cop in your next film "Sathyam?" Vishal Yes. It came soon after "Sandakozhi." But I accepted it only recently, because I believed the role demanded a certain level of maturity. Now, after "Thimiru," "Sivapathigaram" and "Tamirabarani", I feel confident. Jeeva Yes, confidence matters. When "Tamizh M.A." came to me, I wasn't confident, because it's a performance-driven role. After "Raam," I underwent therapy to overcome the intensity of the role. Kids next door suddenly started shunning me because of my demeanour in the film. Vishal One thing we have in common is the fact that our dads belong to the industry. We have got tremendous support from them. Jeeva Yes, when we look back, we realise how much they have done for us. Vishal One might be a good performer, but ultimately success and staying power count. We owe a lot to our backgrounds. Jeeva Okay, (comes close to the tape recorder, shouts) tell me about your girl friends. Vishal I don't have one. Jeeva I was talking about (shouts) girlfriend-s. Vishal (Laughs) I have lots of friends from college. I did Visual Communication in Loyola. Jeeva I remember you wanted to become a director. You worked with Arjun as assistant director. Vishal Yes. Cinema must've been on your mind too? Jeeva Yes, I grew up watching Rajni films. I used to have albums of the superstar and hide them under the sofa cushions. All my outings during childhood were to shooting spots. But I took up multi-media and e-commerce. I used to design websites for my dad's films. I was planning to go to Canada when "Aasai Asaiyai" happened. So what role does your brother, director Vikram Krishna, play? Vishal He keeps track of my work. Today, I'm recognised in Andhra Pradesh too because of him and my dad (producer G. K. Reddy). Jeeva Yes, I've seen your posters in Hyderabad. Remember what I told you when we first met? Those "Sandakozhi" posters made such an impact. Vishal A lot depends on packaging and marketing. What's the point in having a good product if you are not able to present it well? Jeeva Absolutely. In Tamil, we say koovi koovi vikradhu. But with recognition, you lose your privacy. Vishal It's part of the package. Once, when I was in a restaurant in Madurai with noodles hanging out of my mouth, a woman photographed me on her camera phone! ( Chuckles) Jeeva Even when you are on location, hurriedly changing costumes, you'll have strangers staring at you.It's annoying, but we take it in our stride. I remember an incident where a guy interrupted the shoot. It was a train sequence. He came right in between, shouting, "Jeeva, Jeeva!" Vishal Can't help it. You have such a big fan following. I can't forget that woman who kept repeating, "Jeeva, I like you... ." outside Four Frames (Priyadarshan's studio). Jeeva You... (Laughter) When I went to Pollachi for shooting, many people asked me if I had acted in "Sandakozhi." In fact, "Dishyum" had just been re-released and was doing well, despite that people came to me mentioning "Sandakozhi," "Sandakozhi"... Vishal Come on. Okay, tell me, are you into fitness? Jeeva Not really. For "Dishyum," I trained in gymnastics. What about you? Vishal I work out regularly for an hour. After "Chellamae," I knocked off 10 kg. Okay, there's healthy competition among the young crop of stars, isn't it? Jeeva Absolutely. Vishal It's like running on a racetrack with space for everyone. We're focussed on the finishing line, instead of looking side-ways at who's on the next lane! Jeeva Okay, do you believe in love, marriage? Vishal Marriage is a good thing. When the time comes, you should get married. Jeeva So, when is that? Vishal After the next Olympics. (Laughs) Jeeva Love? Crushes? Vishal Yes, like Saif Ali Khan in "Dil Chahta Hai". It's a different crush every month in the calendar. For you, it must be one every day! Jeeva Please... give me a break. ( Laughter) PHOTO: SHAJU JOHN

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