The excitement in his voice is palpable as Sibiraj talks about his home production, Naigal Jakkirathai (NJ) produced by Nathambal Film Factory. “There are many factors that make this film significant for me. It’s my first role as a cop and it’s an unusual comedy thriller where a dog has an equal role,” he says.
The actor is confident that the film will hit the jackpot for him. “See after Nanayam, I listened to around 200 scripts but all were in the genre of Paruthiveeran, Subramaniyapuram or horror kind of movies. So, I refused all and took an acting course at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles for three months. After my return I met Nanayam director Sakthi Rajan who told me about the story of NJ. The minute I heard it, I jumped at it,” says Sibiraj.
The comedy thriller revolves around a cop who comes across a dog, who helps him to crack some crime cases. “The first half is comedy while the serious stuff begins post interval. It’s easily going to be one of the best dog movies in the world,” he says. While Sibiraj is a dog lover with four dogs at home, it was tough to shoot with Idoh, the Belgian Shepherd, they found after a long search. “We renamed him Subramani in the film. He belongs to Masood from Bangalore and was trained by Ishaque. He’s a trained protection and guard dog, and though he became friendly, he bit me 13 times during the chase scenes. That’s because he’s trained to attack during a commotion, running or threatening situation. However, since I’m used to rearing dogs from childhood, I wasn’t scared to continue shooting,” says Sibiraj. The actor even kept Subramani aka Idoh, in an air-conditioned room at home, took him for regular walks and even talked to him like he does with his other pets!
Ask him about playing cop for the first time and he says, “With my dad having played iconic cops, I knew there would be comparisons. But I appear in the uniform in only a few scenes and have kept it different.” What was dad’s reaction? “He gave me inputs during the cop costume trials and said I was looking good,” he says. Sibiraj has also gone for the clean shaven look for the first time. Arundhathi is the female lead of the film, releasing in November.