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Cause I can: Chiyaan Vikram

Written By Chiyaan Vikram on Monday, October 24, 2011 | 12:48 PM

He carries his star power rather lightly on his shoulders. Vikram, better recognised as Chiyaan Vikram (he even signs autographs under that name) by Tamil movie buffs, is so grounded, you almost want to call him an aberration to the title Superstar. After all, being one automatically translates to being inaccessible, right? Vikram probably doesn’t subscribe to those rules. He willingly poses for photographs, signs autographs, smiles readily, cracks jokes and more importantly, arrives before time. The National-award winning actor was in town as brand ambassador of the Sanjivini Trust that is primarily involved with Chronic Diseases prevention in rural India. In this freewheeling chat, he talks to After Hrs about his movies and more.

Q: Your last movie Deiva Thirumagal comes across as one which you’ve put your soul into. Would you rate it as your most difficult role yet?

A: I think, of all the movies I have done till date, Deiva Thirumagal has been the most demanding. It has been the most gratifying too. My role as Raavanan (in Raavanan) allowed me to portray different shades of the character, but Krishna’s character in Deiva Thirumagal was on a different level. This was a role where I had to do more than act. I had to become Krishna. After having lived the role, it became difficult to get out of him. In fact, recently while was shooting an emotional scene for Rajapattai, my director quietly came up to me and reminded me that I’d acted like Krishna.

Q: What’s the ‘research’ you’ve put in for Karikalan?

A: Karikalan is totally a fantasy-periodical. It’s got a rocking script and the only ‘research’ the role requires from me is to be fit. For Rajapattai however, I had to bulk up and grow a pot belly.

Q:Tell us more about your role in Rajapattai...

A: I play the role of a gym boy in the film. Gym boys are these extras who stand behind henchmen in movies. They have weird hairstyles, are huge and potbellied.Initially I was in a quandary as to how to play the role and look the part, but then I started eating and grew a paunch. I am quite happy with how it’s turned out. After Rajapattai, I will be getting into this ultra-chic film for which I have to look suave. A major portion of the film will be shot in Los Angeles and San Francisco. It’s a slick, stylish film and is a change from the heavy roles I have been doing of late.

Q: When Raavan released. comparisons were made between your portrayal of Raavan vis-a-vis Abhishek Bachchan.... What is your take on that? Is there a difference between how actors perform in the south and the north?

A: As far as differences between actors are concerned, I’ll say, south Indian actors seem better actors because the kind of roles we do are more earthy and a lot harder. We do realistic cinema. Hindi films are largely made in a lighter vein because they cater to a larger audience including NRIs. Southern films are very realistic, very rural. The roles require us to portray a whole gamut of emotions and doing them has honed our acting skills.
About the comparisons between Abhishek and me, I think they are completely unjustified. He portrayed his interpretation of the character just as I did mine and I think he did a brilliant job. In fact, there were certain scenes in the Hindi version where I felt he’d done a better job than I had.

Q: As a star, the line “with greater power comes great responsibility” must ring true to you?

A: Over the years as an actor, you realise you just can’t keep working; you could, but you get to a point where you realise that you need to do more. As a public figure you have a ready platform to convey a message. I think it applies to cricketers and politicians as well. I have always felt that fans emulate their stars, even copying their hairstyles! So, when you do something for the common good, they’ll follow you there too. I strongly feel that every actor must do something to give back to society, simply because we have a ready platform and it’s so easy, its almost as easy as doing promos or endorsements.
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