Chiyaan Vikram seen as a romantic, a body builder, a hunchback terror inducer and an ogre, does intrigue any viewer who has watched the trailers of the much-touted Shankar film ‘I’.
Ask the amiable actor what the film is all about as the trailer doesn’t divulge nothing much, he says: “The story revolves around a commoner Lingesan, an aspiring body builder who wants to win Mr Tamil Nadu title. Arnold Schwarzenegger is his role model.”
Interestingly, director S Shankar was so inspired by the looks and hairstyle of a much-younger Schwarzenegger that he styled Vikram on his lines.
Vikram who is associating with Shankar for the second time - earlier for ‘Anniyan’ - calls the director a perfectionist. “’I’ is a milestone for me. Shankar sir always does his research well and is particular about sticking to his script and dialogues. He is one of the few directors where I can forget about everything and can concentrate on my acting, body and characters,” says the actor who will mark his 50th film with ‘I’ in a career spanning over 25 years.
Vikram and lead lady Amy Jackson who were in the state for the promotion of the movie, shared their love to work in Mollywood. “Malayalam cinema is changing and every film is different and experimental,” says the actor. Amy Jackson, who debuted through period drama ‘Madrasapattinam’, adds: “Language doesn’t matter, I always pick my movie according to the roles.”
Amy will be essaying the role of Diya in the movie.
“Diya has an equal prominence in the movie. She is a beauty incarnate and plays a model. Though she doesn’t know Tamil, she was always seen reading and memorising and listening to the script,” says Vikram.
“It was great to work with Vikram and one of the biggest directors of the country. I am both nervous and excited with the movie which were the best and hard two years of my career,” says Amy Jackson.
The action-romantic-fantasy movie took almost a production time of 2.5 years production time and is made at a whopping budget of around Rs 180 cr.
Vikram, who is known for experimenting with his screen avatars, is one of the few actors who goes to any extreme to get under the skin of the character. He lost 25 kg to portray Lingesan.
“Before the shoot, I cycled for 15 km and had a 3-hr gym regime with a strict diet. A group of dieticians, gym experts and doctors closely monitored my fitness diet. Shankar sir wanted me to look like a real bodybuilder as I was sharing screen space with real bodybuilders. And, for the model’s character, I have to be slimmer,” says Vikram who lost 300g everyday on the sets of ‘I’.
On his policy of one film at a time, he says, “I want to do films that mean a lot to me, and if I am not getting a good script I would not want to do something just for the sake of it. For the past three years I could have done six to nine films easily.”
Besides Vikram and Amy, the cast includes Suresh Gopi, Upen Patel, Santhanam and Ramkumar Ganesan. “Suresh Gopi’s character is very strong,” says the actor without giving out much.
Shankar, who is known to rope in the best sound technicians, has associated with Hollywood’s Weta Workshop who have done make up for films like ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’.
The music is composed by A R Rahman while cinematography is by P C Sreeram. Llewellyn Anthony Gonsalves is the editor.
‘I’, produced by V Ravichandran under the banner of Aascar Film Pvt Ltd, will hit the marquee on January 14.