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I Don’t miss being a comedian: Santhanam

Santhanam is a busy man these days. Between promoting Anand Balki’s Server Sundaram and shooting for Selvaraghavan’s Mannavan Vanthanadi, Sakka Podu Podu Raja and Odi Odi Uzhaikkanum simultaneously, he takes time out of his hectic schedule to talk to CE about his growth in the industry. Though he has been working non-stop, he says he feels relaxed. Ask him about the roles he wants to portray, and he says, “I want to be in films that will challenge me and make me grow as an actor.”

Here are the excerpts:

How are you enjoying your stint as a hero?

I went through a lot to get here. Over these years, I learnt the craft of filmmaking. I enjoy observing the process. Many ask me how I manage multiple projects at a time. It’s not new to me. This is where I wanted to be. As a comedian, I used to do 8-10 films a year. Whenever I find a scene boring, I sleep in the caravan (laughs). Otherwise, I work extremely hard. When I came from TV to cinema, many discouraged me. I pursued my dreams relentlessly, and I knew I’d be successful some day. Now, I am happy and it’s the best phase of my life.

Do you miss being a comedian?

Not at all! I wanted to be a hero, and I equipped myself for it. I have shared screen space with almost all top actors. I decided that I was done playing the “hero’s friend”. I wanted to move on to the next level. So I lost weight, and worked on my body language. I moved out of my comfort zone and stopped doing ‘mass’ hero subjects. I do things that suit me — the happy-go-lucky roles. I believe in casual acting. I am here to entertain the audience. In fact, every hero wants to do that — from Rajinikanth to Vijay. But when they do a film, action sequences will be heavy and comedy tracks will be less. When I do a film, it’s vice-versa. Today’s audience needs only entertainment. I want to do films which will make people smile.

Server Sundaram is also the title of Nagesh’s blockbuster. How confident were you when you signed the film?

Both the films have the same title. That’s it. The story is entirely different. Nagesh sir is a legend. Nobody can be like him. I am his huge fan. This film is about a mechanical engineer who becomes a master chef. The script is different and there hasn’t been a film like this in Tamil cinema before. And yes, the iconic ‘cup scene’ is there, too. I thought cooking
was easy. Then, this film happened (smiles).

What can you tell us about Mannavan Vanthanadi?

Selvaraghavan has an eye for realism. He’s a dedicated filmmaker who loves to deal with intense subjects. You could see that in the way he shoots his songs. Not many know he has a funny side. Acting in his direction has been a great learning experience. I generally do things quickly. But, for this film, I have calmed down a lot. I just listen to Selva and act. Mannavan Vanthanadi will be a fun version of 7G Rainbow Colony (2004). It will be a complete Selvaraghavan film with my approach
towards acting.

You’ve roped in Simbu as the music director for Sakka Podu Podu Raja. How special is the film to you?

Whatever I am today is because of the opportunity that Simbu gave me in Manmadhan (2004). I’ll always be grateful to him. We didn’t zero in on Simbu immediately. One day, he was playing AAA songs to me. Casually, I was asking him about one of the songs. He told me he had composed one of it, but didn’t use it for the film. When I heard the song, I was blown away! So I asked if he wanted to compose music for my film. VTV Ganesh and I had to convince him a lot before he finally gave the green signal. The songs of Sakka Podu Podu Raja have come out well, and I hope we satisfy the audience.

We heard you’re playing a cop in Odi Odi Uzhaikkanum… Is it true?

That’s right. It’s similar to Suriya’s Si-3 (laughs). I haven’t been hitting gyms regularly, but I do yoga in the morning.

What’s next on cards?

Direction, what else? (chuckles). I get bored easily, and I can’t keep doing the same thing. It’s a huge responsibility — I know! When I become a director, I won’t act in it. Maybe, I’ll approach Arya or Udhayanidhi Stalin. At the same time, I want to direct something different like Kamal Haasan’s Pesum Padam (1987)…a film without dialogues or something. I will talk about it if and when the time comes.

Source: The New Indian Express