He was sixteen when he got his first biking title, winning the first place in the 2009 Scheme Bike Championship, held by the TN Motor Sports Club. He holds the 10 Km Wheeling record till date, a feat he accomplished at the Scheme R 15 Championships in Hyderabad in 2012. And now the twenty year old Dhileepan Pugazhendhi, the grandson of famed lyricist Pulamai Piththan, is debuting as hero in Yevan. In a chat with CE, we discover more about the newbie and the film.
‘’ I was inspired to take up biking by Valentino Rossi, the nine-time world champ who rides for Moto GP. My my late father, producer Pugazhendhi, was also into biking,” reveals the youngster. Of course, his family didn’t take too kindly to his passion, especially when Dhileepan had a bad accident. So Dhileepan decided to pursue his passion for cinema, instead. “With my grandfather and father both into films, I knew this is the place I wanted to be in,” says Dhileepan. So he trained with Koothu-p-pattari for a year before director Duraimurugan spotted him when he was scouting there for fresh faces.
“It was only after I selected him that I came to know his film connections,” says Duraimurugan. So what was his grandfather’s reaction? Dhileepan adds, “Thatha is 80 years old and still a prolific lyricist. He has seen several generations of actors and would always recount stories about the olden days. He is happy that I’ve entered films but more happy that MGR is my role model.”
Singer Ujjayainee Roy plays his mother, in a story set in Chengalpet. “Usually films revolve on problems between lovers. But in Yevan, its about how the heroine tries to solve a problem between a mother and son,” says Duraimurugan.
Dhileepan’s bike racing skills came to the fore when he did very risky shots, in a bike chase in the midst of heavy traffic. He even hurt his arm and leg while doing wheelies. Another serious risk the unit took was in the forests near Thiruvannamalai. “We were warned by tribals that giant beehives, over ten feet long, were present inside the forest. We were instructed not to use perfume, carry no flowers nor smoke or make noise, or else the bees would attack. But someone smoked during the shoot and it angered the bees that attacked us! We ran for our lives! Three people were hospitalised. We had to cancel shoot for the day,” recounts Duraimurugan. Heroine Deepti Mane and JK Sanjith, playing a cop, make up the cast.