Would like 'Suriya Vamsam' to get a re-release: Sarath Kumar-Vijay Kanishka

Both of the actors speak about their roles in 'Hit List', the challenges they faced in the film, and more.
A still from 'Hit List' starring Gautham Vasudev Menon, Vijay Kanishka,
A still from 'Hit List' starring Gautham Vasudev Menon, Vijay Kanishka,

Actor Sarath Kumar, an industry veteran with over three decades of experience, started his career playing antagonists and supporting roles, before establishing himself as a hero and a household name.

As someone who understands the importance of building a filmography with a strong foundation, he vouches for his Hit List co-star Vijay Kanishka, who made his debut with the film.

Sarath Kumar says, “He has taken a heavy subject for his debut and has handled the challenge very well.” Vijay adds, “I believe that the story is the first hero of any film, and I think this is the right choice for my introduction because I loved the story.”

In this conversation with CE, actor Sarath Kumar and debutant Vijay Kanishka open up about Hit List, working under two directors, and more

Vijay, as the son of director Vikraman, what made you choose acting over direction?

I have been doing a lot of stage shows from my childhood. I experienced a different high while showcasing my talent in front of an audience. So I realised that I wanted to be in front of the camera. However, I do get directorial ideas, and jot it down every once in a while.

I have come to understand that direction is something that requires a lot of maturity, and I definitely have a long way to go.

Sarath Kumar, you were meant to become an IPS officer before you entered the film industry. Is that why you’re attracted towards police roles?

My brother-in-law was a minister and he discouraged me from becoming an IPS officer because I would be transferred every few years. I played a police officer in Kan Simittum Neram to appease my father’s dream to see me as a police officer. In the present, a lot of directors have been leaning towards making thrillers, and when they have a senior cop in their script, they think of me because of how fit I am for my age.

Sarath Kumar and Vijay Kanishka
Sarath Kumar and Vijay Kanishka

Vijay, considering you come from a film background, what are some challenges you didn’t expect to face while filming Hit List?

Although I come from a film background, my father ensured that I had a childhood with no exposure to films. He would not even let me come to the sets of his films until I completed my education. Coming to Hit List, I have done 90 per cent of the stunts without a stunt double, to give a realistic output to the audience. So all the punches and blows you see on the screen are real ones that I received. The main challenge was, however, learning to ride a bike. I learnt to ride and even managed to do an entire chase sequence on the bike in this film.

Sarath Kumar, you have earlier said that your only regret was entering politics at the peak of your career. Now that you’re dabbling in films and politics, what are you more focused on?

In 1996, Surya Vamsam was the biggest hit of my career. At the same time, I made my entry into politics. But, I should have focused on one career path. After Surya Vamsam, had I focused on films, my career growth would have been completely different. When I entered politics then, I didn’t know about the kind of influence politics had on cinema. After I took my political stance, people against my stance wouldn’t watch my films or release them in their theatres. Cinema and politics are intertwined. Now, the scenario is completely different, and I am equally focused on cinema and politics.

Now that re-releases are in trend, what are some films you want to hit theatres again?

SK: Surieyan, Surya Vamsam, Natpukkaga, Nattamai, Aravindhan, Diwan, Maayi; I would like all of these films to get a re-release. But we can start with Surieyan, and also, definitely Surya Vamsam. Even today, there’s an audience for Surya Vamsam. Maybe, we can even edit these films before their release, for a shorter and effective runtime.

VK: For me, it’s definitely Surya Vamsam, but also maybe Poove Unnakaaga.

Sarath Kumar, as a veteran actor, what is one piece of advice you would give a debutant like Vijay?

As a new actor, I think it is important for Vijay to understand how numbers work in the industry. If a film does well, he shouldn’t demand an exorbitant hike in his salary for his next film. The producers should also not expect his next film to do well, just because this film is a hit. An actor should ensure that he increases his pay when the business increases, but only so much so that they can sell the product.

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