Actor Pavel Navageethan, who played Shiva in Dhanush’s Vada Chennai, was hoping to direct a film when he was asked to meet director Vetri Maaran.
“I had written a script and was telling that story to many production houses. That’s when I was called for Vada Chennai. I told them I was busy narrating a script and asked if I could come the next day. They were okay with it, but I was apprehensive that they would think I was acting pricey,” says Pavel, who also acted in Kuttram Kadithal, Magalir Mattum, and Madras.
“When I went in, Vetri sir gazed at me and said ‘ah, okay pa’, and I only got to meet him properly on the sets. I wasn’t told what role I’d be playing, and when I asked a co-director, he said it is the role of the hero’s friend. I was told that I’ll be needed for 10 days and if director sir is impressed with my acting, he would extend my role. I wasn’t sure how they’d do it but I took it as a challenge,” he adds.
And sure enough, thanks to Pavel’s performance, his character was given more scenes. “From 10, the number of days I worked became 80, out of the 100 days the film was shot for. Right from the eleventh day, there was a sense of satisfaction that my work was liked by the makers,” says the actor, who even spent time with Vetri Maaran during post production. “If Vetri sir likes a person, he makes sure that person is around him. If I got up to leave the studio when he entered, he would tell me to stay back and see how the work happened.”
Interestingly, by then, Pavel had completed shooting his directorial debut. “Vetri sir saw the film and he said he liked it. I even told him that I was worried that Vada Chennai could brand me as an actor, while I preferred direction. But he told me to continue acting so I could learn more from those working around me.”
The actor, who will next be seen alongside Mammootty in Peranbu, was apprehensive about acting in front of Samuthirakani and Dhanush. “Kani sir and Dhanush sir would finish their scenes very quickly irrespective of how long the dialogues were. As they’re so perfect, it made me feel conscious about my lines,” he says.
Ask him about his directorial debut and he says, “I was waiting for a good banner to release the film. Vada Chennai has made that process easier. I was roaming around with a script for eight years, but no one paid heed. But now that I’m a known actor, it opens up more avenues for me. I suppose it gives them a sense of confidence that I can make a good film. I’ll speak about it more when the film is ready for release,” concludes Pavel, who reveals that its title will be Otta Thoodhuvan.