INTERVIEW| 'We took nearly five hours on make-up for each look in Cobra,' says actor Vikram

Ahead of his upcoming release, Cobra, Vikram opens about the action entertainer, its similarities with his previous hits, and more
A still from Cobra. (File Photo)
A still from Cobra. (File Photo)

Vikram, who’s delivered many unforgettable performances in his career including in films like Sethu, Pithamagan, and Anniyan, will be scripting a new milestone with his upcoming release Cobra. The film will mark his first multi-lingual release in a career spanning over two decades.

The actor reveals that the remarkable success of the KGF franchise, which turned out to be a beacon of hope for a film industry still reeling from the effects of the pandemic, motivated them to aim for a pan-Indian release.

“The pan-Indian release wasn’t that big a concept when Cobra was in the initial stages of discussion. It is because of films like KGF and Baahubali that we no longer feel restricted to any one language. I’m glad that Cobra will also be my first film to be dubbed in other languages including Kannada,” says Vikram.

In a recent media interaction, the actor spoke about his association with Cobra’s director, his love and compulsion for appearing in multiple get-ups, the hours that go behind the make-up, and more.

The rushes of Cobra have people comparing it with your previous films, Anniyan and Samurai. Does Cobra have similar elements?
The similarity between Anniyan and Cobra is that both are psychological thrillers. However, Cobra has elements of science fiction and drama. I have donned different get-ups in many of my films. Hence, the audience tends to connect this with my previous performances. I can assure you that Cobra is unique.

Cobra will feature you in eight-nine get-ups. Are you an actor who enjoys the art of getting into different avatars and does not mind sitting long hours for make-up?
It is a compulsion. I remember spending three hours each day on make-up for Anniyan. While I had make-up artists coming from America and New Zealand for Anniyan, this time, we roped in an artist from Mumbai. We took nearly five hours on make-up for each look in Cobra. I convinced myself that I love the process. But it is actually difficult. There’s a lot of itching, especially during acting. But that’s what is interesting for an actor like me.

A still from Cobra
A still from Cobra

For an actor of your experience, does commercial success and positive criticism hold great weight?
Both matter, but commercial success is significant. Producers are investing more and more money. For instance, initially, KGF had a very small market. But somebody had the guts to think of it as a big, out-of-the-box film. More producers will come forward if actors can deliver.

Cobra started before the pandemic. Did the film go through any changes to adapt to current trends?
We didn’t make any changes as such. There was no need for that. But of course, director Ajay Gnanamuthu kept improving the script to make Cobra what it is today.

There were reports that you would be collaborating with Ajay Gnanamuthu after Cobra...
Before narrating Cobra, Ajay wanted me to listen to another script written by Baahubali writer, Vijayendra Prasad. At that time, I felt the story would only be suitable for Telugu audiences and may not work for Tamil viewers. So, we did not take the project forward. But now, after many years when we went back to that script, we had a new perspective. So I hope it will be a perfect project to work on next.

Though pan-Indian films and multi-lingual releases are the new buzzwords, would you still be open to doing, say, an exclusive Kannada film?
I will. After watching KGF, I called Prashanth Neel and expressed my interest to work with him. I’m not bothered about the language of the film. When I was a struggling actor, I worked in Malayalam and Telugu films. But I have never done a Kannada film. I have got a few offers from Kannada filmmakers, including Pawan Kumar (Lucia). Pawan and I are discussing a few scripts as well. The language doesn’t matter. The film does.

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