For Mumbai-based Abhimanyu Singh, who played the villain in Theeran Adhigaram Ondru, it’s all about preparation. “With some roles, you take longer to understand the mindset of the character. I like to internalise the role before I shoot; it makes it easier on the sets,” he says.
Abhimanyu had no hesitation in saying yes to director H Vinoth, when he narrated the script of Theeran... “I was impressed by the amount of research work he had put in. When you know what you’re talking about, you don’t have to worry about the result.
You just have to focus on keeping the flow going. I knew this film would turn out to be a hit when I heard Vinoth’s narration,” he says. The actor adds that he was fired up to perform even during the narration. “I could see that Oma isn’t your usual villain. He’s deadly. Also, the character is based on a real person.”
He is all praise for the difference Vinoth has made to this film. “An actor is only a part of the film. If my role is being appreciated, all the credit goes to Vinoth, who conceived it in such a specific way!” he says.
Abhimanyu admits that Oma is probably the most intriguing character he’s portrayed. He’s also received a lot of attention for the role. “It will remain one of my finest outings. Many have been asking me about Theeran... but it isn’t my first Tamil film. I’ve been part of films like Velayudham, Thalaivaa and 10 Enradhukulla,” he says.
In Bollywood, the actor has shared screen space with seasoned actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. “When the lead actor is passionate, it rubs off on the supporting cast. I can’t thank Karthi enough for being as disciplined and driven,” he says.
He slipped into the skin of his character so efficiently that he was even mistaken on the sets for an actual dacoit. “One of the female dancers believed that. She was scared to dance too close to me,” he laughs. “Eventually, I got around to telling her that I wasn’t really dangerous and that she needn’t be worried. Even then, she didn’t believe me. It was only when she heard me talk to someone in English that she began talking to me.”
The dark make-up for the character took an hour’s work every day. “I have known actors who don’t shower while portraying such roles. But I couldn’t do that,” he laughs.
Language is no barrier for this actor who has also worked in Telugu and Kannada films. “Cinema is a universal language. It’s all about getting the emotions right. When the audience watches an actor, they don’t hear his voice; they I feel it,” he says.