By Express News Service
A sense of nostalgia hits you as you enter veteran actor Radharavi’s office. The wall is adorned by a huge portrait of his father, the legendary MR Radha, his mother, and is surrounded by framed photos of late veterans like MGR, Sivaji Ganesan, Gemini Ganesan and Nagesh. Before he can sit for a chat about his latest film, Sarkar, and touch upon his 44-year long film career, the 65-year-old actor wears a pair of shades from a collection.
Excerpts from the conversation below:
The Sarkar problem
“This is my first film with AR Murugadoss and Sun Pictures, and I play a politician.
It’s a film necessary for the youth. It was a lovely crew to work with — be it the 24 managers from Sun Pictures or the cinematographer Girish Gangadharan and his young team. There were issues around this film that the makers have tackled quite well. What hurt me was that this issue went to court. It should have been handled at the Writer’s Association. Even #MeToo should have been sorted out internally.
There are associations for any kind of issue — if an allegation is actually true. If the accusations are real, I can say I support the #MeToo survivors.”
“All credit for Sarkar should go to AR Murugadoss. He’s an extraordinarily intelligent worker. I wondered why a particular scene was framed the way it was, and I understood it during dubbing. As someone who’s against Vijay’s character in the film, there are quite a few face-off scenes that have been framed really well.”
The Vijay effect
“Sarkar is another feather to this mature actor. In Sarkar, the way you see him will be different and there are many moments that play to the gallery. Vijay has risen to such stardom at such a young age. He’s good-hearted too and I treat him like my son. Incidentally, in his first film, he played my son.
He comes to the sets on time, and doesn’t leave till pack up. Despite having his own caravan, he lies down on the floor.” Method acting “You just have to imagine yourself as that character. Rajini likes my body language, and that’s how ‘Kooti kazhichu paaru, kanaku seriya varum’ happened in Annamalai.
In Pisaasu, as a father who has lost his daughter, I’d wear loose clothes and move sluggishly. He’s a drunkard too, so I had to remember that. While playing that character, I thought of my own daughter, Rekha, and that made me cry.” Cinema camaraderie “I echo the thoughts of my father — that it’s an ungrateful world. In 1967, my elder brother got married. After appa’s shooting case, he was imprisoned but the wedding happened under the aegis of actors such as TS Balaiah appa, K Sarangapani appa and SV Subbaiah appa.
The unity we used to have isn’t the same today. I heard that fellow actors helped organise Vishal’s sister wedding, and it was nice to hear. Friendships such as the one Chandrasekhar, Vijayakanth, Pandian, SS Chandran, Thyagu and I had is hard to come by these days. Even recently, I hugged Vijayakanth and cried because I’ve seen him as a lion. It’s disheartening to see his deteriorating health.”
“I’m not going there much these days as I’m busy with films. Though we have some legal battles, Vishal and I are friends. But no, I won’t contest elections again. I have been there for 30 years and I’m the youngest and longest-serving president, so I’m done. People who are making comments about my job in the dubbing union are not even members. I won the Dubbing Union elections fair and square, and as they can’t face me directly, they’re trying to cause problems.”
The father, a leader
“He’s the embodiment of nature. He wasn’t educated when he went to jail, and while others learn politics from their jail time, my father learnt to sign his name in English there. He also became an excellent chess and carrom player. In Bale Pandiya’s Neeye Unakku Endrum song, he’d mouth gibberish to make up for not knowing swaras. He’d also place his hand on his head as if he was singing passionately, but that’s because his wig had torn off at that place. Even in the next shot, for continuity, he’d have his hand on the same place. When appa died, I cried, not because my father had passed away, but because a leader had left us. To me, he is the leader who taught me everything.”
Source: The New Indian Express