Comedy king Santhanam is climbing the next step in the ladder as he turns hero in Vallavanukku Pullum Aayudham (VPA). Produced by PVP Cinemas and Handmade Productions, the film is releasing on May 16. And looks like Santhanam has had a tough time on sets, balancing his hero act, causing him to admit that being a hero is no easy task.
The film is a remake of SS Rajamouli’s Maryada Ramanna and is being directed by his buddy Srinath. Ashna Zaveri stars opposite him as his lady love. So how did he find the shift from comedian to hero? “For one thing, as a hero, you have to allot more dates for a film. As a comedian I had to manage the punch lines and my dialogues alone. But as a hero, I not only had to act, but also do action scenes, sing songs, romance the heroine, emote heavily in the sentimental scenes and keep track of framing and lighting angles. Further, a whole team took care of my make up, costumes and hairstyles and I had to take care of my looks for each shot. It’s definitely tougher being a hero.”
Santhanam is one actor who has the fullest call sheets these days, as he plays comedian in several films. Will he continue his comic roles or turn fully to lead roles in future?
“As an artiste, I have graduated from doing TV shows to playing comedian in feature films and then I turned producer. Now, I have gone one step ahead and turned hero. I will surely turn to direction one day. But I will also continue to play comedian as I have been doing. As a comedian, I can finish a film in lesser time since being hero demands longer schedules! Our cinema has changed in recent times. Just like Hollywood and Bollywood, our films too require the comedian to be smart and match the hero in style and action. Basically, one has to keep growing and improving on one’s craft.”
With him turning busy with so many films, lots of younger comedians have cropped up on the scene and even Vadivelu and Goundamani are making comebacks. Does he view anyone as his competitor? “As long as I keep working hard and give the audience something new each time, I’ll continue to be on top. The minute I slack off and lose interest, I’ll lose my position. So, my competition is only with myself,” he replies.
The actor seems to share a wonderful rapport with all the stars he has played friend to on screen. “All have been very helpful to me. Jiiva gave me tips on my hair, while Arya advised me about exercises and stunts. Simbu gave me tips on song sequences, while Udayanidhi told me all about promotions,” he says.
The actor is confident that kids who are on summer vacation will enjoy this film. In the meanwhile, he is busy hearing scripts and will decide about his next film as hero, only aftergauging the audience reaction to VPA.