CHENNAI: During the last couple of years, Kalaiyarasan, apart from having his share of lead roles, has done a supporting role alongside Suriya in Thaanaa Serndha Koottam, and also got his first OTP release with Kalavu.
“The journey has taught me a lot. I’ve seen both success and failure, and learned what kind of films I should choose,” says Kalaiyarasan, who plays a supporting role in Nayanthara’s Airaa.
“The story is intriguing and about two women from contrasting walks of lives. How they’re connected to each other, and how Amudhan (the character played by Kalaiyarasan) plays an important role in one of their lives is what the film’s about. I liked the story the moment I heard it. I know Sarjun (director) from his short film days as well,” says Kalaiyarasan, who plays an army veteran in the film.
Elaborating on his character, he adds, “Amudhan is a man who has seen his share of bloodshed and denounced that life. He is in the process of heading to Canada to become a part of a Tamil Sangam when he ends up meeting Bavani (one of the characters played by Nayanthara).” Interestingly, this is the first time the actor is playing a role that is older than him.
“Amudhan is in his late 30s; so I won’t really call it a dramatic age difference (smiles). But we worked on the appearance and costume — for instance, he walks slowly as he’s a patient man.” The inevitable topic of working with Nayanthara crops up. “It was lovely. I was initially hesitant to converse with her, given her stature, but she is casual and cool. She lives her character on the sets, so that helps us forget that she’s actually Nayanthara.”
“As an actor, I want to know what I can contribute to the film. I make sure it doesn’t have too much heroism. It should be a sensible role with some novelty.” He quite enjoys playing supporting roles. “When starring in a lead role, one has to worry about dates, shooting and promotions, but when it’s a supporting role, everything else is taken care of and it’s a stress-free environment that allows you to focus only on the performance.”
Speaking about his line-up of films, he says, “I’m doing a romcom called Titanic. I’m waiting for films like China and Mugam to come out too. I’m doing an abstract film called Kuthirai Vaal in which my character ends up with a horse’s tail. I’m also doing a new-age love story titled Kachang alongside Ashok Selvan.” On evidence of all his character roles, it may not be evident immediately that Kalaiyarasan is a trained dancer. “There’s a kuthu track in Titanic and I’ve danced in it for the first time. I can’t wait to hear the feedback.”
His recent film, Kalavu, despite getting good reviews, couldn’t get a theatrical release. “If a film is made for the digital platform, that makes way for experimental films, more talent, and that’s a good thing for the industry. But Kalavu was made for the big screen, and because of internal issues, it didn’t land up there. Despite my best efforts, it didn’t; and it makes me disappointed and angry. I’m glad though that it came out on Zee5.”
He hasn’t really committed to new films, as he’s got a bank of unreleased films. “Most of the teams I’ve worked with are those I knew before Madras, and as they respected me before my big break, I did films with them. Some new producers had issues with release and even if I help them by introducing them to senior producers for help, they feel offended and refuse it.” Kalaiyarasan feels that they don’t realise that it’s all for the good of the film.
“A film needs the right shows and the right promotions to bring people to the theatres. Two continuous flops means that an actor has to start from scratch. That’s why I want to work only with those who know how the industry works.” And that, of course, involves being able to say no. He had mentioned in an older interview with us that he was struggling to learn how to reject offers. “It’s still the same (laughs). But I’m trying learn how to say no in a polished manner,” says Kalaiyarasan.