Producer-actor Udhayanidhi Stalin’s Manithan, is all set to hit screens on April 29. The film, directed by Ahmed of Endrendrum Punnagai (2013) fame, features Hansika Motwani as the heroine and is the Tamil remake of the superhit Hindi film, Jolly LLB (2013). Excerpts from the interview...
From the time you did your first film (when you were worried whether you’d be able to portray a character convincingly), you seem to have become a strong confident actor. How did this transformation happen?
No, I haven’t reached that stage at all. For every actor, every film is like a stepping stone. Yes, there has been a small increase in my confidence because of the five films I have done. When the topic of this film came up, I was like, ‘This is a good film and I need to do it.’ But once I got to know that I would be acting with the likes of acting giants Prakash Raj sir and Radha Ravi anna, I was a little scared. But the space and encouragement they gave me and the encouragement that the whole unit, including director Ahmed, actor Hansika, Aishwarya and cameraman Madhie, gave me, enabled me to do this role well. Prakash Raj sir was very comfortable to work with. He is such a big legend but he would take time to appreciate the work of others. In fact, he actually clapped for one of my scenes. So, I look at each film as a point in a learning curve.
What have you learnt from working on this film?
One thing I learnt from working on this film is that I need to ensure that the emotion gets translated on screen. The audience has to have an emotional connect with the film. In some of my earlier films, that connect might have been missing. I have made up mind to not only pick good scripts, but also insist that they have a point where the audience is able to connect with the story.
Why have you titled this film Manithan?
The idea behind naming it Manithan is to highlight the goodness that one associates with humans. In fact, this project did not have a title for a long time. Then, we chose to use ‘Shakthi’ as a working title as it is the name of the hero’s character. While looking for a better title, Vivekh sir came up with ‘Manithan’. He said, For this film with such a moving script, ‘Manithan’
will be the most apt title.’ Manithan is also the title of one of Rajini sir’s films, but the two films have nothing in common other than their titles. I called AVM’s Balasubramaniyam sir to ask for permission to use the title and he readily agreed.
The movie is now ready to hit screens. Looking back, if there is one thing you would like to change about this film, what would it be?
I wouldn’t want to change anything with regard to this film. I am extremely confident about it.