Harish Uthaman isn’t your typical Kollywood bad guy. He’s fair, for one, and has large brooding eyes to boot. He’s got a standout smile too, and yet, he gets cast mainly as a villain. “It is not that I don’t want to play a hero. But I don’t know, do I really look like a romantic hero?” he asks.
The actor doesn’t really like the term, hero. “I prefer to think of all the roles as characters. A villain, these days, is expected to look as good as the hero. I think it’s cool to play a ruthless guy,” he smiles.
His work in Nenjil Thunivirundhal, is fetching him much appreciation. “Director Suseenthiran wanted a different me for this role. I was excited about being given a makeover.
I had to change everything about me—the way I see, walk and talk,” he says. “For instance, kanna surukki dhaan paapen. I didn’t know back then why Suseenthiran wanted me to do all that. Initially, it strained my eyes. Then, I got used to it. The moment I wore the make-up, wig and black veshti, I transformed into Durai Pandi,” he says.
Harish doesn’t believe in homework. “I did it only for my debut film. I had to attend workshops for that. Now, I go to the sets like a blank book. I listen to my director, and improvise a lot, he adds.
He sports a beard in Nenjil Thunivirundhal, which he says, made people not even recognise him. “In a way, it was good. But ultimately, I do need people to know it’s me,” he laughs. It took an hour and a half every day for him to get ready.
“We had a makeup artiste, Dhanasekhar, help me with my wig and beard. He’s worked in demanding films like Vishwaroopam, Enthiran and Remo. My beard alone would take 40 minutes,” he tells us.
He is a Malayali, but prefers to focus on Tamil films. “I can talk fluently in Malayalam, and have done a film there called Mumbai Police. I have been getting offers, but haven’t been able to take them up, given how busy I’m here,” he clarifies.
Harish is not just getting villain roles anymore. He’s playing a CID officer in Mayanadhi that has Tovino Thomas in the lead. “It will be quite different from other cop roles I’ve played,” he assures. He played a cop in three films last year—Maaveeran Kittu, Bairavaa and Dora. “Yes, but the roles were vastly different. Each one required a unique approach.”
Harish is a big fan of Raghuvaran. “He was a fantastic actor. I wish I had met him. I want to be like him.” He, like Raghuvaran, doesn’t lay much emphasis on how long he comes in a film. “The role just needs to have a lot of impact on the story. My role in Paayum Puli lasted all of seven minutes. But that’s one of my favourite roles till date,” he says. Ten years ago, Harish didn’t imagine he would become an actor.
“It was Radha Mohan, who offered me my first villain role in Gouravam. I’ll be always grateful to him! That was my first bilingual. And now, after all these years, Nenjil Thunivirundhal has turned out to be my second.”