Venkatraman wowed us with his looks and performance
in Abhiyum Naanum and Unnai Pol Oruvan. Having worked
with Amitabh Bachchan and Mohanlal in Kandahar in
Malayalam and with Nagarjuna and Anushka in Damarukam
in Telugu, this debonair actor is ready with his first
solo hero project in Tamil, Pani Thuli directed by
Natty Kumar and Dr Jay. Catch Ganesh Venkatraman in
a friendly tete-a-tete with Senior Editor Jyothsna
Why a long gap after Unnai Pol Oruvan?
was waiting for a good role as I want to be
part of good cinema. I did Kandahar with Amitabh
Bachchan sir and Mohanlal sir in Malayalam.
And that was when Pani Thuli came my way. I
would have listened to at least 30 scripts before
Pani Thuli but nothing impressed me. After having
worked with Abhiyum Naanum, Unnai Pol Oruvan
and Kandahar in a good character role, I was
waiting for the right kind of project as a solo
hero. And that was Pani Thuli. After reading
the script, I knew this was the script that
I was waiting all along. It was worth the wait.
The film is over now and I am eagerly waiting
for its release and the audience’s feedback.
This was the script I was waiting
Pani Thuli will be like a James
genre is Pani Thuli?
Thuli is a romantic subject but Natty has given
it a James Bond touch. It is a new genre by
itself. Perhaps you can call it a romantic thriller.
Natty has infused all the elements of a commercial
film in Pani Thuli. There is romance and beautiful
spell binding music; we have tried a few new
techniques in action sequences a la Hollywood
style and there is comedy. There are unexpected
twists and turns like in a James Bond film which
will take care of the thriller element.
How do you feel about your first solo hero subject?
am very excited and feel fortunate to have got
a good education in cinema having worked with
Prakash Raj sir, Amitabh Bachchan sir, Mohanlal
sir, Sathyaraj sir, Nagarjuna sir, Venkatesh
sir and two beautiful heroines Trisha and Anushka.
I can’t expect a better education in cinema
than this. And I have used all those experiences
with big stars in Pani Thuli. I am confident
that Pani Thuli will do very well.
I am confident that Pani Thuli will
do very well
He can live on love and fresh air
is your role in Pani Thuli?
am Shiva a software engineer in Pani Thuli.
He lives in Chennai and is madly in love with
a girl called Meera. He works in a mediocre
company and is not very ambitious about his
career. He thinks he can live on love and fresh
air. But Meera who is a final year medical student
is very ambitious and pushes Shiva to reach
the next level and because of this he gets an
opportunity to go to USA. And then the film
travels to US and what happens there forms the
crux of Pani Thuli.
Home work for Pani Thuli
As an actor I really like to work on the characters
I play. Two specific characterizations were there for
the character Shiva in Pani Thuli - one was the simple
Shiva in Chennai who is in love with Meera and there
is another Shiva in the US. I will not reveal much but
I can say both are very opposite and very different.
I sat with my directors and discussed in detail about
the characters and I tried to incorporate the different
body languages, attitude to life etc in the roles. As
my action sequences in Unnai Pol Oruvan were much talked
about director Natty wanted my action scenes in Pani
Thuli to be the highlight of the film.
As per this the action sequences in Chennai will have
a local flavor. We have incorporated new elements in
the US sequences. A few scenes involved snowboarding
and I had to learn this. I was nervous initially and
fell down many times. I practiced for 3 days and on
the 4th day I did the sequence and I am happy about
There is an important chase sequence in the film where
the villains follow me through the streets of San Francisco.
In this along with running, we involved skate board
too. For this I had to learn stunts on the skate board.
All this learning happened, thanks to Pani Thuli.
On the dancing segment, I had to learn salsa as my character
in the US is charming, a Casanova kind. In fact my introduction
in the US is through a dance sequence in a club and
hence it was important for me to pick up salsa and dance
like as if it’s my second nature. I can do kuthu
numbers and hip hop but salsa is different. You need
to sway your hips and keep your upper body stiff and
it involves a different body language. I took salsa
training for 25 days and have executed the scene. These
are the things I learnt for the film.
About director Natty Kumar
I have made great friends with Natty Kumar through this
film and it has been a great journey for me. Post Unnai
Pol Oruvan, I received the script of Pani Thuli through
email. And I was impressed with the presentation, screen
play, characterization, detailing, dialogues and the
treatment. I immediately understood that these guys
are professional and they are clear about what they
want to do. I also realized that they have worked one
year on the script and so many discussions had taken
through the shooting of almost 90 days, we got
close and became a family and understood each
other quite well. We not only discussed Pani
Thuli but also about all kinds of films. Natty
is also cinema paithiyam like me and we used
to watch movies together and our wavelengths
matched quite well. We understood each other
so well that half way through our schedule,
Natty just had to look at me and I would understand
what he wanted from me as an actor. This is
very important in cinema for an artist to understand
a director’s vision and to execute it.
Natty’s biggest strength is his sense
of scripting. In addition to that his sense
of humor is awesome. In the most serious situations,
he would crack a joke and make the situation
lively and you will feel this humor in the film
Natty’s biggest strength is his
sense of scripting
Natty Kumar made sure I had
two heroines to romance
in film, for a new hero, there will be one heroine
and throughout the film he has to run behind
her and romance. Luckily for me, Natty Kumar
made sure I had two heroines to romance. Jokes
apart, the script demanded two heroines. Shobana
and Kalpana Pandit are the two heroines of Pani
Thuli and they have acted very well. Shobana
is from Mylapore and has moved to America a
couple of years back. Kalpana is experienced
and has acted in a few Hindi movies. Pani Thuli
will be her debut in Tamil. Both are extraordinary
dancers and I had to get my dancing right to
match them. It was fantastic working with them.
I always believe that when you are working in
a romantic film, it is important that you have
a good comfort level with your co-stars which
translates on to the big screen. Both are very
cordial and friendly people to work with. There
was no attitude problem. Although it was their
first film, they have acted very professionally
in Pani Thuli.
highlight of Pani Thuli is its visual treat
and we have shot 70% of the film in US in Los
Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Boreal ski
resort. We have captured the beauty of San Francisco
during Christmas and have shot a nice romantic
song under a 45 feet Christmas tree. We have
shot a song in Las Vegas, the land of casinos
and an action sequence in Boreal ski resort.
We have also filmed in Universal studios in
Hollywood, in Disneyland and in beaches. We
shot in Financial District in San Francisco
where IT companies are located. We show Shiva
working in this area.
The highlight of Pani Thuli is its
Music is very important in all
in Pani Thuli
is very important in all romantic films. Music
directors Agnel and Faizaan have scored 6 beautiful
numbers. They are associates of A R Rahman and
come from his school of music. They have done
Hindi films like Ragini MMS and are currently
working with Anurag Kashyap, Ektha Kapoor and
such big production houses. Pani Thuli is their
first Tamil film. As we are doing this film
in Hindi and Tamil, we wanted someone who can
give music in Tamil and Hindi and they were
the right choice for this film.
Did you dub for yourself?
In Hindi I dubbed for myself but in Tamil, as a team
decision we used the services of a dubbing artist. I
am also eagerly waiting to speak in Tamil. I am there
almost 80% and I feel I should speak not just for the
sake of it or to prove a point but I want to do it right.
Very soon, I will be doing my own dubbing.
projects you have signed?
I have just completed Damarukam with Nagarjuna and
Anushka in Telugu. It is a sci-fi futuristic film
with lot of action along the lines of Terminator and
Magadheera. I have had four months of back breaking
schedules. This month I am taking it cool and from
February I will be starting and announcements will
come. As of now I am waiting for the release of Pani
Thuli. I want your love and patronage. Please support