He’s the kind of an actor who can play any character with subtlety without compromising on his craft. In fact, he conveys the seemingly most complex emotions with an air of casualness. That’s Vijay Sethupathi for you. The man is currently in the news as his recent releases Aandavan Kattalai and Rekka are box-office hits.
“I am true to the scripts that I choose and I don’t pretend in front of the camera. I see every film of myself from the third person’s perspective—like how the story travels, what kind of curiosity does it create, whether it is convincing and how it has to be conveyed to the audience. I keep asking myself, ‘Would I like to watch myself doing this?’. Rekka is my first full-on commercial outing. But yes, it was a conscious attempt to do that. Once I do a couple of ‘mass’ films, I can enjoy the brand and do any type of film,” he says.
To him, script is king. “Script is the hero. When I realise that the script is good, I’ll work on the character, the look and live with it. I was a shy guy earlier and didn’t search for extraordinary scripts. Would you believe if I say I was rejected for the role of a junior artiste? I have done it all—from small characters to TV soaps.”
Sethupathi refers himself as a method actor and a director’s actor. “I surrender myself to directors. I trust my filmmaker-friends a lot. Give the same script to Nalan Kumarasamy and Karthik Subburaj. I am sure, they will end up making different versions. Each one is terrific in his own way. Many times looking at them I have felt jealous because they are more gifted than me. They have an amazing visual sense,” he says.
The Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom fame actor says nothing in cinema comes easy. “Before making it to the big screen, I enrolled myself as an accountant in Koothupattarai, a theatre group in Chennai. There was no vacancy in the acting department. Slowly, they let me perform as they knew I was interested in it,”
says the actor who has delivered hits such as Jigarthanda, Soodhu Kavvum, Naanum Rowdy Dhaan.
It all started with a small role in Selvaraghavan’s Pudhupettai (2006), where Dhanush was the lead. “After many disappointments, I landed up as a hero in Seenu Ramasamy’s Thenmerku Paruvakaatru. It is close to my heart for many reasons,” he smiles.
Any regrets? “I wanted to establish a name for myself. It’s done. Cinema has given me the most pleasure. Be it watching or acting—anything to do with cinema. My films are a hit, so personally I am satisfied. But I am not able to spend much time with my son and daughter. Then, I tell this to myself ‘Not everyone can have everything in life’,” he signs off.