“My son gets upset if he finds my poster torn” – Jayam Ravi

Fresh off the blockbuster success of ‘Thani Oruvan’, Jayam Ravi is gung ho about the future. We love his spirit. Shankaran Malini explores more in a candid tête-à-tête with the actor.

A refreshing holiday

While the makers are basking in the glory of ‘Thani Oruvan’, the film’s protagonist ‘Jayam’ Ravi and his wife Aarti had just returned from a short vacation to Maldives where he celebrated his 35th birthday. He can’t stop raving about the island country.

“Usually, for my birthday every year, my wife plans an outing. In Chennai, even in India, or in Dubai sometimes, it’s difficult for me to roam around independently. I like staying aloof and prefer peace and quiet. So, I prefer going to a serene place where people don’t recognise me. Earlier, we’ve been to Macau and Langkawi but this time we chilled out in Maldives. It’s like heaven on earth. I have never seen such beauty underwater. We spent four days there. We don’t take the kids along on such vacations. Aarti’s parents took care of the kids while we were away,” says Ravi.

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The star couple also dropped in at the world’s first undersea restaurant and had a great time. “The beauty of the whole thing is that you can’t see any part of this restaurant on the surface. It’s a beautiful place and the tranquil setting gave life a fresh feel. It was a never-before experience for us,” shares Ravi animatedly.

“I did not even propose to Aarti properly”

Ravi and Aarti had also been to Dubai for SIIMA earlier this year. In his award acceptance speech, Ravi had mentioned that he is not a ‘romantic person’. Talking more about this streak, the actor says, “I meant that I am not a ‘textbook romantic. I did not even propose to Aarti properly. I mean I didn’t go down on my knees, serenade her with roses etc. I am what you would call a practical romantic. For instance, I may not overtly express my feelings, but if I like someone they will know it,” he says, continuing, “Aarti has always been by my side, whether good times or bad. Up until recently she was handling my social media presence by herself. Now we have a dedicated admin resource, but she manages many of the communication even now. She always encourages me to try different things.”

What’s so special about dad?

“My kids – five year-old Aarav and one year-old Ayaan are my world. Aarav was named as a combination of both our names. I couldn’t devote much time to my family last year since I was busy shooting. But this time, I want to around and spend quality time with them. Aarav is constantly in tough with me when I am away on shoots and he misses me a lot. Kids look upon their father as their ultimate hero,” Ravi shares, adding, “I could see the change in his behaviour over the years. Initially, Aarav used to wonder why people click pictures with me and what is so special about his father. Now, he has begun to understand better. On his way back from school, if he finds my poster missing or torn, he gets upset. He watches my films and in my recent releases, I think he likes ‘Romeo Juliet’ a lot mainly because of the ‘Dandanakka’ song. Being a boy he loves guns and fighting and that’s probably why he likes ‘Thani Oruvan’ too. He says he likes the film so much he wants to watch many times over. He is hyperactive and has won many competitions in school.”

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One-year-old Ayaan is the new bundle of joy in their house, Ravi says. “For Ayaan, we couldn’t work on a combination name (he laughs), but we liked what we chose. It’s a beautiful name. He has started walking and it’s an absolute delight to watch him walk trying to balance his gravity. Now, I want to work more just for them.”

“I grew up eating Andhra food”

“It’s been a blessed life for me. My parents have always been there for me. Although my father is from Madurai, he worked hard and managed to become one of the top three producers in the Telugu film industry. He gave up all that and came here just because he wanted to launch me into filmdom. We grew up eating Andhra food and I have so many fond memories of our Andhra days. I would want to work on a Telugu film sometime. Some of my Tamil films have been remakes of hit Telugu films, but I have never done a straight Telugu film as yet.

Brother ‘Remake Raja’ takes the blame

Ravi is very close to his brother and the duo understand each other very well too. He says a lot of dialogues, and that’s how he explains his scripts. “Raja had made a film while doing his film course and his vision at that age when he made his college diploma film was so uniquely different. It’s just that he needs his own space and time,” the actor explains.

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Raja is often referred to as ‘remake’ Raja because almost all his films have been successful remakes. ‘Thani Oruvan’ is his first original script ever and is the answer to his jaw-dropping and incredible potential as an independent director.  “I hope he makes many more such original films and I will be there to support him.  Whenever I go through a lull period, and feel down and out, he does a remake. I enjoy the success of the film and he takes the blame as ‘Remake Raja’ (smiles). As a brother he has always been there for me. Working with my brother is like coming home after work. We go out to work and then we get back home. I hope he does a straight film again this time.  People are looking forward to us to working together again. It might happen at the end of next year,” adds Ravi.

Remembering Arya’s appreciation

Having done lighthearted, romantic and serious roles, Ravi agrees that it is the responsibility of an actor to treat his audience to a variety of roles.

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He fondly recalls Tamil actor Arya appreciating him recently for making a non-comedy, non-horror film (‘Thani Oruvan’) work magic at the box office at a time when horror and horror comedies are the in-thing. Cheers to that!

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