Natty Subramaniam shines as corrupt cop in Vijay Sethupathi's 'Maharaja'

In an exclusive conversation with CE, the actor says that he knew his character’s journey fully before production began on the film.
A still from 'Maharaja'
A still from 'Maharaja'

Natarajan “Natty” Subramaniam’s character Varadharajan has a fascinating arc in the Vijay Sethupathi starrer Maharaja, written and directed by Nithilan Saminathan. He is a corrupt cop who is smarter than most characters in the film. While Vijay Sethupathi plays the protagonist, an act of Natty’s character got the biggest cheers from the audience.

In an exclusive conversation with CE, the actor says that he knew his character’s journey fully before production began on the film. “I knew the whole arc of my character and what would happen at the end of the film. I also knew that the audience would like the scene towards the end because it captures the essence of humanity,” says Natarajan, while adding, “But I did not expect that the audience would celebrate it like this.”

Responding to the hypothetical question of which other role from the film he would take on, Natty quips, “Of course, I would like to play Maharaja himself.” The film marked the first time Natty shared screenspace with Vijay Sethupathi. “It was a delight working with Vijay. He is one of the finest actors of our generation. His titular character of Maharaja and my cop character occupy about 60 percent of the screen time in the film.

The beauty of working with him is that even if I do ten per cent of what he does, it would work. For example, the scene you mentioned earlier; I rehearsed it multiple times, and Vijay and director Nithilan patiently waited for me to get the tonality and behaviour necessary for the character. So without their support, I would not have been able to pull it off,” reveals Natty, while adding, “The audience’s reception for my scene should go to them.”

Natty
Natty

Regarding working with Nithilan Saminathan, the actor says, “He is a fantastic director. He explains a scene in such a gentle way that it helps you nail a character. For example, even for scenes where I walk, Nithilan asked for a retake and told me to do it in a way that shows confidence. “I want you to always walk like Varadharajan and unlike Natty,” he said. This means he saw the film in its totality and explains why he got such little nuances out of my character,” says Natty while showering his director with praise.

Delving further into his character in the film, Natty says Varadharajan is extremely different from who he is in real life. “Varadharajan is a very clever police officer. For example, my introduction scene in Maharaja is with an RTO office employee who has helped build a house for Rs 10 crores, and he could identify the foul play there. When you look at it another way, he is also a corrupt cop, but yeah, his intelligence stands out,” states Natty.

Responding to the criticism regarding the gratuitous use of violence in the film, Natty says, “The screenplay demands it. In fact, if I were the director, I would have used more violence in the film. Nithilan kept it subtle.” Natty will next be seen in the RJ Balaji-Selvaraghavan-starrer Sorgavaasal, which he states is gearing up for release.

The actor says that he also has an important role in the upcoming Suriya starrer Kanguva, but he remains tight-lipped about the character. His upcoming projects also include Moondraam Ullaga Por, starring Hiphop Adhi, and the Bharathiraja headliner Niram Maarum Ulagil.

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