Galatta with Aruna – One Man: ‘Chiyaan’ Vikram

A THOUSAND FACES AND A MILLION BEATING HEARTS…

Vikram is something else. His passion for cinema, his infectious energy, his inspiring spirit, his zest for life… this South Indian Superstar definitely is on a different high altogether! The kind of high you get when you are at peace with yourself and in love with your life. In a laidback, chilled out chat with Aruna R Krishnan, in her spanking new chat show Galatta With Aruna on the YouTube channel Galatta Tamil, Vikram discusses the myriad of things going on with him now… and on staying young and staying hopeful…

EXCERPTS FROM THE INTERVIEW…SKETCH IS A NORTH MADRAS ROLE. DHRUVA NATCHATHIRAM HAS AN INTERNATIONAL FEEL. TELL US ABOUT THESE MOVIES…
Sketch is set in North Chennai, that’s about it. And for the sake of cinematic drama, yes there is the ‘North Chennai’ slang. Truth be told, nobody really talks that way even in North Chennai these days. But yeah for the sake of it, that drawl is there. And yes, Dhruva Natchathiram is on the other side of the spectrum. Gautham Menon and I go way back. He actually wanted me to do Kaakha Kaakha, but that did not work out. And then we have met so many times and discussed what we could do next. I have always told him that I wanted to do something that was international, stylish and romantic. Dhruva Natchathiram is all of that! When you watch the movie you will feel like you are watching an English movie. If you watch the trailer that Gautham has done, you will go crazy. I can’t wait for people to watch the trailer and then the movie.

HOW DID YOUR SON GET CAST IN THE ARJUN REDDY REMAKE? HOW INVOLVED ARE YOU WITH IT?
After Arjun Reddy released I heard that there were lots of actors who were interested in doing the remake. That’s when I got a call from producer Mukesh Mehta, asking if Dhruv would star in the Tamil remake. At first I was not sure if this was a genuine call. Then I met him. He’s a very sweet person and he had watched Dhruv’s dubsmashes and seen his pictures and was convinced that Dhruv would be the best for the part. But at the time Dhruv was studying Method Acting in New York. I was not sure he would be interested. But then I thought about Arjun Reddy. I felt that it was a beautiful film and would be the perfect launch-pad for Dhruv. So when I called him and he was apprehensive about leaving school and coming, I convinced him. He is a very smart kid and often so mature that it feels like he is the dad and I’m the son! There have been times when he has advised me to stay off social media for a bit, because I was over-active!

You must never let age get to you! The minute you start thinking that you’re old, you get old! It’s all in the mind

BUT YOU INSISTED ON DIRECTOR BALA?
Yeah. When Dhruv was younger, Bala would jokingly say that only he would direct Dhruv’s first movie. But that is not why we chose Bala. It’s just that I could not think of anyone else who has a better understanding of people and characters. And Bala has told me several times that he wants to move away from his dark, rural subjects. I am sure Bala will do justice to the movie. And I am grateful producer Mukesh agreed to my request.

YOUR SON IS ON THE VERGE OF DEBUTING IN MOVIES. YOUR DAUGHTER JUST GOT MARRIED. BUT YOUR ‘MARKET’ IS ONLY GROWING BIGGER. WHAT ARE YOU DOING RIGHT AND HOW ARE YOU DOING IT?
I have a process as to how I work. Or at least I used to. When I get in to a movie, I will be completely obsessed with it – fully immersed. I would not think about anything else. At the shooting spot I won’t take any calls, friends and family won’t visit me there and I just won’t listen to other stories. Only after the movie is over and the promotions are over will I listen to another script. But what happens, most of the time people come to me with just a knot – a story idea, which means it has to be developed into a script. By the time we arrive at something, six months have gone by. Then I would take another six months to prep for the role. In the bargain I would have lost a year. I soon realised that I did not want to do this. I did not need to follow this process. Why can’t I listen to a story while I am acting in a movie? That way by the time I’m done with one movie, the next will be ready and I can keep moving. This realisation has changed my approach and I am loving it!

There’s an exciting rapidfire round, a fun prank call and even vikram’s cover version of an ar rahman chartbuster in the full video of Galatta with Aruna ON GALATTA TAMIL YOUTUBE CHANNEL. Watch & enjoy!

YOU DEFINITELY HAVE A LONG LIST OF INTERESTING PROJECTS LINED UP – DHRUVA NATCHATHIRAM, SAAMY SQUARE, MAHAVIR KARNA… HOW ARE YOU DOING IT ALL?
I had this golden period in my career. I did Dhool, Saamy, Pithamagan and Anniyan all within a time span of one and a half years. That was amazing. And I strongly believe that I can repeat that. I know I can. And just knowing that this is possible, that I can once more create that kind of cinema, excites me. Seeing how my fans celebrate every movie of mine, has made me want to take up more projects. Why make them wait? So when Hari told me he had a good story for a sequel to Saamy, I thought why not. He told me the story and I agreed and we got started. Dhruva Natchathiram is Gautham Menon’s ‘dream project’. It’s got an international flavour to it. I am so happy we finally got to work together. As for Mahavir Karna… well, that is just a god-send. It’s going to be made on a 300 crore budget. Only the crème de la crème of Indian cinema will be cast in it. That’s the only one that’s probably going to take a while to get ready for, but it’s absolutely worth it.

I had this Golden Period in my career. I did Dhool, Saamy, Pithamagan and Anniyan all within a time span of one and a half years. That was amazing. And I strongly believe that I can repeat that. and just knowing that this is possible, that I can once more create that kind of cinema, excites me

THESE MOVIES AND THESE DREAMS, DON’T THEY TIRE YOU AS YOU AGE?
You must never let age get to you! The minute you start thinking that you are too old to do something, you get old! It’s all in the mind. I even told one of my friends who is almost my age, to please not say she has to slow down because she is old now. She was making me feel old too! Age is just a number and it can’t touch you if you don’t let it. I am very positive. I feel like I can do anything and I will.

AND WE ABSOLUTELY WANT HIM TO!

Interview by ARUNA R KRISHNAN
& Written by KAANCHAN PRASHANTH