of theatre experience over cinema?
is no link between acting in cinema and theatre
but there is a connection too. Theatre experience
helps you understand a character and deliver
as per the director’s expectations. But
acting as such is very different in films. You
need to give what is being asked instantly at
that moment in films. That’s the criteria
for films. That way acting in films is different.
If you understand this, you will realize both
There is no link between acting in cinema and
There is a huge movement for theatre in Kolkata
you think the theatre in Chennai is as vibrant
as in Mumbai or Kolkata?
There is a huge movement for theatre in Kolkata.
It has been like that for a long time. There
is no big domination of cinema there whereas
in Mumbai, you have English theatre. However,
in Chennai, cinema dominates the scene. Here,
people choose the path of theatre to gain an
entry and to make it big in films. Hence theatre
is not very vibrant here.
How can this be improved in Chennai?
Of course, it can be better! There are many television
channels and serials here. Despite that, dramas are
still going on which by itself is a big achievement.
Sabhas are still organizing plays here and many youngsters
are also in fray and there are many theatre groups too.
On an average, there are around 7 plays running per
month in various sabhas. In that context, it is a healthier
did your association with Radha Mohan begin?
We did a play called Virtuous Burglar which
is called Minnal Ravi in Tamil. I did the role
of a burglar. Visu, Radha Mohan’s cameraman
who also happens to be my friend came to the
play and he suggested I meet Radha Mohan. That
was the time Azhagiya Theeyae was being made
and Visu said that there is a role of a friend
in the film. I met Radha Mohan in Prakash Raj’s
office. Radha gave me a narration of the film
and I liked it very much. To my luck he also
liked me and gave me the role. I had previously
met Prakash Raj in Bengaluru during a theatre
workshop and he just then walked in. He was
also glad to offer me the role, thanks to my
Working with Radha Mohan is very easy.
Working with Radha Mohan is very easy. Once you understand
what he says, he gives you complete liberty to maneuver
around your role. If you don’t understand him,
he makes you understand. It is good to work with him
and that’s why you will find my participation
in most of Radha’s films. I was there in Ponniyin
Selvan; have dubbed for Bhramanandam in Mozhi; did
a wonderful role in Abhiyum Naanum and I’m now
in Payanam. That’s how my journey with Radha
On your role
only can elaborate more on my role. I am doing a character
called Subash. In our society we come across many
people with innocent anger and my role will reflect
such anger. It has really shaped up well.
How come you
are seen in most of Radha Mohan’s films?
It is not like that. Recently I have acted in Vijay’s
Madrasapattinam. Although a small role, it was a good
experience working with him. He had kept me very comfortably.
I am not at ease driving a car and I told him that.
But he told me the scene and asked me to try it if
I liked it and I did it. That’s how it works.
Radha gives me good roles and I do it.
Krishna is a director who is good in his craft.
with Gomatam Krishna in Mudhal Mudhal Mudhal
I know Krishna very well and for a very long
time. He is a very taxing director who keeps
shooting in all angles and expects perfection
in every aspect from the performing artist.
However his final product will floor you completely
and will leave you in awe about yourself.
Krishna is a director who is good in his craft.
That was my experience with Krishna and the
film was a good one. The film M3V won the
award at the Cairo Film Festival. After Omar
Sheriff, Krishna is the first one to have
got this award. I think he has got his recognition.
Which do you
like- script writing or acting?
are dear to my heart and it depends on what I write
and what I perform. When I was doing Masters in Performing
Arts in Puducherry, I was exposed to all facets of
a play. I adopted all the plays that our group performed
and was actively involved in choosing the play, author
and all the allied functions. Later when I was with
Koothu-pattarai, Muthusamy also involved me in similar
assignments. That’s how my script writing commenced.
like taking up direction?
I have directed plays but am not keen about pursuing
it. I prefer writing and acting especially as I
would be on stage where I have 100% control.
I am very fond of Mani Ratnam and Mahendran
I am very fond of Mani Ratnam and Mahendran.
Of course, now there are many good directors
and if I say Radha Mohan, you will say that
I have worked with him a lot. I like Suseendiran,
Sargunam, Sasikumar. They have brought about
changes in the old way of narrating a story;
they move a story through characters. It is
Films you liked
in the recent times
Angadi Theru captivated me; it was a fantastic work
of Vasantha Balan. I also liked Bala’s Naan
Kadavul which explored the lives in ‘other’
world. I liked Kalavani, it’s a simple film.
in Tamil cinema
As far as creative side is concerned, Tamil
cinema is proceeding in a healthy direction.
Generally spoof films will receive good critical
acclaim but will not succeed. However, Thamizh
Padam was received well in all the sectors.
Audiences appreciate new attempts. The trend
is healthy and good directors and producers
are catering to it.
Audiences appreciate new attempts
What are your
I do plays for children. As I had told earlier, I
am doing a play for Chettinad Vidyashram, Chennai.
Every year, it is a ritual for me for three months
when I work with these school children wherein I share
my theatre experiences with them and in return learn
a lot from them. Besides that, in whatever I do, I
do it with passion and sincerity.
Theatre alone can give you that richness
for people who want to take theatre as their
I have taken theatre as my career and now
I am talking in front of you. So, you decide!
If you want this as your career, don’t
listen to anyone. Choose that and you are
sure to be richer by varied experiences not
only in performances but also in life. In
cinema, after you are done with a momentary
act in front of the camera which (the moment)
again is colossal, that moment is gone but
in theatre, it keeps changing with respect
to the place, the audience, your co-actor
and sometimes yourself. You will realize many
Theatre alone can give you that richness. At the
same time, the theatre that gives you such richness
can also give you difficult times. If you are prepared
for this, you can take the plunge.
Secondly, at a time when ‘amma’ sentiment
is archaic, it was a tightrope walking to deliver it
in the right manner.
in Abhiyum Naanum
I was too nervous about two things in Abhiyum
Naanum- the song sequence and the scene where
I call Trisha as amma. As per Radha’s
first narration, there is a beggar who becomes
a part of a kid’s family and I was ok
with it. Later, Radha called me and said that
the beggar is fast developing and he has a
partner and is also singing a song. I immediately
refused saying I can’t dance and Radha
assuaged me saying I don’t have to dance
but would only be a spectator. But when we
went to the location, dance master called
me for rehearsal and I was shocked. Somehow
I pulled it off.
Beggar is fast developing
I did these two scenes with a lot of trepidation but
fortunately, they were well received.
is Payanam about?
A flight that departs from
Chennai is being kidnapped and is made to emergency
land in Tirupathi. There are negotiators, terrorists,
demands and there are 138 passengers in the flight
with different characteristic traits. How people react
in such a situation is narrated with good humor. It
is a very different Radha Mohan’s film. This
time around he has tried a completely different genre
from his earlier works. It is a good film, a comedy
thriller and has recorded the happenings in five days.
The film revolves around what people outside do; the
relationship between the terrorists and the passengers
and so on. Radha Mohan has approached this realistically.