Vishal is happy about how Thupparivalan has shaped up, and is confident about its potential success at the box office. “I am not saying this only because it’s a Mysskin product,” he smiles.
He is playing a detective for the first time, and it’s cause for much excitement. “Not many of us have seen private detectives in real lives. The only detective I know is Jaishankar (the veteran artiste)!” he says. So, when Mysskin offered Vishal this role, he didn’t think twice. “For the past eight years, we have been discussing about doing a film together, but it never happened. I guess there’s a right time for everything.”
Vishal’s character, a detective, is naturally an intellectual and a recluse to boot. “He wears a scarf, a cap, and shades. He’s a closed person who doesn’t want the world know what he is up to. Pulling off the role was a huge challenge because enna panninaalum, Mysskin sir says subtle-a, subtle-a! I was also asked not to laugh or grin without reason,” he adds.
Vishal says he’s proud of having done a film like Thupparivalan. “Mysskin has always told me that I am underutilised in the industry. I don’t think I am as close with any other director as I am with him. We have similar sensibilities, and that really helped us in making this film.”
Mysskin, he says, has unearthed a different side of his. “I have seen Mysskin work on storyboards. It’s a rare quality in filmmakers. He’s a man of great vision. He plans and jots down everything,” he tells us.
“Doing Thupparivalan was also a relief because I produced it. Another producer may not have done justice to such a film. For instance, we shot the climax portions for about 26 days in Pichavaram. I understood what the film really needed and spent money accordingly. I didn’t compromise on the production values. I think I’ve chosen Thupparivalan at the right time of my career.”
It’s not all about him. Vishal says the film will work wonders for the careers of Prasanna and Vinay Rai. “I asked Vinay if he could do that character, and he accepted the offer. All three of us had a great time on the sets. There was never a dull moment. I am sure Mysskin would have found it tough to get his work done because we were just laughing. Prasanna plays a role that has shades of Dr Watson and he has performed it effortlessly,” he says.
Though Vishal has done films in Telugu earlier, he’s also stepping into Malayalam cinema this year. “Shooting alongside Mohanlal was wonderful. The film is titled Villain, and the audience will get to know who the real villain at the end of the film is. When Unnikrishnan sir approached me for the role, I immediately agreed because of my role and of course, because of the oppportunity of acting with Lal sir. The film talks about how there’s bad in every good and there’s good in every bad.”
Vishal is also shooting for Sandakozhi 2 and Irumbu Thirai. “We are retaining most of the actors from part 1 for the Lingusamy film, save for Meera Jasmine. We have erected a huge set and have finished shooting some portions already. The film begins where it ended, and I can’t wait for it to get released.”
As for Irumbu Thirai, he says almost half the film is done, except Arjun’s portions. “Director Mithran is quite a taskmaster. This film is about digital crimes like ATM fraud and forgery. I play an army officer.”
Has Vishal ever wondered why he’s never truly made the leap into superstar territory? “I am here to make films and entertain audiences. Film business is a gamble. Sometimes, you win. Sometimes, you lose. It’s not a race, right?”