The excitement in his voice is palpable as Sibiraj talks about his home production, Naigal Jagirathai (NJ) produced by Nathambal Film Factory. “There are many factors that make this film significant for me, “ he says. “It's my first role as a cop and it’s an unusual comedy thriller where a dog has an equal role.”
The actor is confident that the film will hit the jackpot for him. “See, after Nanayam, I listened to around 200 scripts but all were in the genre of Paruthiveeran, Subramaniyapuram or horror movies. So I refused all, and took an acting course at the New York Film Academy at Los Angeles for three months. After my return I met Nanayam director Sakthi Rajan who told me this story of NJ. The minute I heard it, I jumped at it,” says Sibiraj.
The comedy thriller revolves around a cop who comes across a dog, who helps him to crack some crimes. “The first half is comedy while the serious stuff begins post interval. Its easily going to be one of the best dog movies in the world!” he says with confidence. But even though he is a dog lover, with four dogs at home, it was tough to shoot with Idoh, the Belgian Shepherd they found after a long search. “We renamed him Subramani in the film. He belongs to Masood, from Bangalore and was trained by Ishaque. He’s a trained protection and guard dog, and so though he became friendly eventually, he bit me 13 times during the chase scenes. That’s because, he’s trained to attack during a commotion, running or threatening situation. However, since I’m used to rearing dogs from childhood, I wasn’t scared to continue shooting,” grins Sibiraj. The actor even kept Subramani aka Idoh, in an airconditioned room at home and would take him for regular walks and even talk to him, like he does with his other pets!
Ask him about playing cop for the first time and he grins, “With Dad Satyaraj, having played iconic cops in the movies, I knew there would be comparisons. But I appear in uniform in only a few scenes and have kept it different consciously. However, it was a cherished moment to don the cop uniform for the first time on screen.” What was dad’s reaction? “He gave me inputs during the cop costume trials and said I was looking good,” he smiles.
Sibiraj has also gone for the clean shaven look for the first time. The film will also star Arundhathi in the female lead and will release in November.