Jackie Shroff had a mind-
blowing diction of Tamil
screen space with Jackie Shroff
is a very cool guy! I would not want to call
him a cool man because he still feels and
behaves like a guy. A lot of people across
the world especially actors should learn certain
things from Jackie Shroff. He makes you feel
very comfortable and is fun to work with.
One of the beauties about Jackie Shroff is
that he had a mind-blowing diction of Tamil.
He could literally speak the language very
well. I can give you a small incite about
him which will probably answer your question.
We were doing a scene where Jackie has to
give away money to young people. Charan gave
Rs 2000 to him to use for the shot. However
Jackie, instead of giving away this money
in action, he would literally give the money
away and ask “hey Charan, give some
more money if there is another take”.
He is that generous and genuinely like that.
When I met Ravi Krishna at the puja of the film, I
could not recognize him because he has lost oodles
of weight and looked so young. He could have easily
passed off as 15-17 year old. When we started shooting,
there is just one place where we encounter each other.
Yeah, we had a good time working together.
Raja is a perfectionist. That’s what
I realized. He is one of the in-depth and
into-the-script directors. I come from a theatre
background and have worked with varied directors.
He is one of the extremely focused directors.
He did not waver a single second from the
script to the extent that if he wants a particular
line to be said after the foot has been kept
down, he would insist that we speak our lines
once our foot touches the ground. That’s
the kind of perfection that Kumara Raja did.
We would do umpteen numbers of rehearsals
purely because the shot had to up to the mark
and there are no re-takes.
Kumara Raja is a perfectionist
Aaranya Kandam is a gangster
is different in Aaranya Kandam?
that I can say is Aaranya Kandam is a gangster
flick. It is a story that happens in the city
between few people. The very making of Aaranya
Kandam is different. It may sound clichéd
but that is the truth. This I could feel from
the time I started working in the film. I
have told this to Charan many a times. The
narration, the storyline and the premise of
AK will be very different.
for Aaranya Kandam
nothing! Kumar did not want me to color my
grey hair. The only make up we did was the
wound that would happen in the film.
Kumar did not want me to color
my grey hair
I am an emotionally weak person
role in Magizhchi?
is a film done by Gauthaman from a novel.
When I came to Chennai, I did my first film
Neranja Manasu with Vijaykanth. Unfortunately,
it was perhaps the biggest disaster in Vijaykanth’s
career itself. I was standing outside AVM,
not knowing what to do next. That’s
when I got a call from Gauthaman introducing
himself and saying that he would like to meet
regarding his film with a role for me. He also mentioned
that he had seen Neranja Manasu. I told that I am
keen to meet him whether we are doing a film or not
as I was happy he had seen Neranja Manasu and called.
Later when he narrated the script, I was impressed
with his way of story telling. When he came to interval
mode, he asked me to put my phone in general mode
and suggested a tea break. That was literally taking
me into a visual trance of watching a movie. For some
strange reasons, the film did not happen then but
when it happened after 5 years, Gauthaman came back
and gave me the same role. I was touched and as I
am an emotionally weak person, I agreed to do the
film. I don’t regret because the characterization
of mind stood really quite a bit in the film. I did
not have big scenes in it but whatever little existed
were power packed. I am happy for Gautham and thanks
On your special
role in Goa
I don’t know how to start this but the original
script of Goa did not have a gay character because
the line which was mine which I gave it to Venkat
Prabhu did not have a gay element at all. But when
Prabhu came after a couple of months and gave me a
narration with a gay character, I found it extremely
funny and told that only he can pull such stuff off.
Although I found the concept a new one, we were apprehensive
about the response and feared we may get hammered
by media or the audience. Luckily for us, there was
a Supreme Court verdict which gave an official status
to alternate sexuality. I asked Prabhu about the person
who is going to do this role. He very sheepishly told
that there is someone but is afraid that the person
might bash him. I grew curious and wanted to know.
Finally he said it was me. I was shocked as I would
never have beaten any director for that reason because
it’s an honor that somebody has thought that
I can execute such a role. And Prabhu is one of my
closest friends in cinema who I met when I did Neranja
Manasu where he played my younger brother in the film.
I told Prabhu I was moved but wondered if I could
pull it off. He had the confidence in me. That’s
how Goa happened.
received for your role in Goa
I had fantastic response. The best of directors from
Tamil cinema called and congratulated me. They were
basically shocked that I was able to execute something
like this. I think it is a huge compliment and I take
it in my stride as these are the kind of thirsts that
an actor actually looks forward for. That’s
basically taken me to a different platform saying
that Sampath is just not going to be a villain who
takes aruval, runs around and shouts but can also
perform something like this.
You seem to be
treading on unchartered paths. How do you manage to
I don’t know about this. If you ask my mother,
probably she would agree with you. When I decided
to become an actor, my whole family laughed at me.
I don’t come from a cinema background at all.
It was for strange reasons I still don’t know
why I said what I said then but I was always cued
towards wanting to become an actor. I would do crazy
things and my mother would tell me, at least for a
change try and do something that is more heroic. I
don’t know but that never fascinated me. I would
have always gone ahead and done things which I would
not do in my normal life. I guess, as an actor, the
biggest satisfaction is when you do things that you
are not normally made for, like it could be my role
in Goa or in Seval or Thamirabarani or Asal or Saroja
for that matter. What excites me is when someone comes
to me and says there is this 90 year old man’s
role. I would like to see myself how I would be when
I turn 90.
Are you in Mankatha?
you take on the role of a hero if it comes
Saroja, I did get quite a bit of offers to
work as hero. But honestly, I would like to
do roles (hero) if it is of my age, my kind
of look and more realistic. I personally have
not gotten over the fact that we can actually
break in to singing and dancing. Somewhere
it has not convinced me. Even when I did Saroja,
the first thing I told Prabhu was that I was
not convinced (about the dancing) but he just
asked me to shut up and do. But when the song
became a huge hit, everybody turned around
and said I should start looking for hero roles.
However, the kind of roles that I have always
got has always made me happy. I have never
consciously thought of turning a hero. I recently
heard a script where the gentleman is supposed
to have two kids aged 14 and 10 and the story
revolves around this man. I would do that
kind of a film.
I have never consciously thought
of turning a hero
Unfortunately I am not there in Mankatha. I go by
what Prabhu says. When he said that he cannot find
a suitable role in Mankatha for me, I have trust in
what he says. I worked in three of his films and know
what he means. Definitely, there is no question asked.
with Venkat Prabhu
Prabhu is one of those friends who I don’t keep
in touch on a daily basis. We don’t talk every
day but we can always pick up where we left. I think
that answers your question.
On your item
number in Thriller
It is mainly because of the producer’s daughter
who is in 9th standard as she was keen that I have
a song in her father’s film. Hence he created
a song and that’s how I ended up doing that.
The girl is a huge fan of Saroja and thought that
a song like this would make a big difference to the
What are the
movies you are doing presently?
I am working on a Tamil project right now. I just
heard few scripts and would choose one from it post
Jan. I am also doing a Kannada film in Bangalore.
I just did one Malayalam film and am doing one more
film with Prithviraj.
It very clearly states that I am
you think your talents are underutilized in
really! We cannot say under utilized or over
utilized because when there is an opportunity
for a particular character and if a director
feels that this particular person can fit
into this role, that’s when he approaches
you. I guess it is easy to say my potentials
are not used but I would not say that. When
I actually turn back and look at these 5 years,
I am happy about the body of my work. And
I am extremely proud that directors of good
caliber have believed that I can accomplish
projects. It very clearly states that I am
are seen as Raghuvaran’s successor.
How do you feel about this?
was one of the trendsetting villains I have
ever seen in the South Indian film industry.
He broke the myth that villains should look
ugly. I would always love to associate something
like that with. We see around the world that
we live in and say ‘thirudan maadirye
illaye’. That’s the truth because
rogues are not bad looking. I loved working
with Raghuvaran in Beema and I can never forget
what he told me then. He said, “Sampath,
I worked with you for 12 days and I have watched
you from day one. You seem to
There will only be one
Raghuvaran, one Prakash Raj
and one Sampath
have strong potential” . He also said something
that is etched in me. He said there is going to be
a huge vacuum that is going to come my way and I should
know how to grab it. It is sad that he passed away
a few months after this. He was one soul who was peaceful
with his way of life. I guess we should never question
that. Nobody takes anyone’s place and it is
not possible. Never ever will I be able to do what
Raghuvaran did. The only thing that is possible is
to try and reach that level. There will only be one
Raghuvaran, one Prakash Raj and one Sampath. That’s
how it has to be.