Vijay's Exclusive! ‘It’s my duty to give what my fans want’ 
Vijay is what Vijay is — no pretensions, no tall claims. Back to the top through his blockbuster Velayudham , the actor says he would not like to deviate an inch from the commercial format

Nothing succeeds like success. Rising like a phoenix, Vijay is back where he belongs. Down in the dumps till recently (only Kavalan was a hit), the Tamil actor has made a sensational comeback through what is being described as typical Vijay masala film, Velayudham. Trade sources say the film, released on Diwali day, is marginally ahead of even 7 Aum Arivu, considering the production cost factor as well. Now running in more number of theatres than it was released — that too to packed houses — Vijay’s outing has been declared a blockbuster. He may have had a torrid time prior to Kavalan, but he seems to have no regrets about the films he signed up. In a chat with Bangalore Mirror, Ilaya Thalapathi, as he is fondly called, reasserts his unflinching loyalty to his fans. Vijay’s next release is Shankar’s Nanban, followed by multicrore projects of Murugadoss and Gautham Menon.

Through Velayudham, you are back to the top again.
Like I always say, commercial successes and failures in filmdom are inevitable. Given the fact that I have done over 50 films and facing a mixed bag of responses, I have rather learnt to look at both through the same lens. No big deal — it’s all part of the game.

How did you decide to work with Raja whose first venture this was outside the (family) circle?
I have seen almost all his films, featuring his brother (‘Jeyam’ Ravi) and I have always been appreciative of his work. When we both met once, I told him to “try me out at least once admitting that I am not as fair as his brother”. He looked embarrassed then, and I have not heard from him for a while. Then suddenly one day he came up with a suitable script and asked me whether we could do a film. It was a script written by the late filmmaker, Thirupathisamy, a close friend of Raja. The film was originally made in Telugu as Azaad, with Nagarguna in the lead. The rights were already acquired, but Raja brought in many original elements. The screenplay was perfectly adapted to Tamil, and we went ahead. I am glad the film has been received really well.

What do you think was the major contributory factor to the film’s stunning success?
It was a pure commercial proposition without any fake promises and we stuck to our guns. The aspect of giving life to a fictitious superhero character created by a journalist was indeed a novel idea that caught up well with the imagination of the audience. Plus, the daring stunts and humour sequences.

There is a talk that your present political connections as well as that of your dad’s status as the president of the Film Producers’ Council helped the film’s success immensely.
You can make a film using one’s strong ties, but can we make a film run because of that? You should know better about the answer to this query.

Looking back, where did you go wrong in the last few years? Was it because of the fact that you obviously went too far flaunting your stardom?
Not that I want to sound philosophical, but we all know that ups and downs are a part and parcel of all professions and filmdom is no exception. In accordance with what we think the fans expect out of my films, the script, screenplay and its situations are crafted. Maybe there were variations in the execution aspect which probably fell short of their expectations. Each and every segment is discussed threadbare before the camera starts rolling and never do I interfere or initiate ideas to project me better. I am what I am and my fans are well aware of that. Hence there is no necessity for me to project me as something which I am not.

But industry sources say that you suggested some changes in S J Surya’s Puli. More recently, it was reported in the media that you have asked Gautham Menon to rewrite the original script in such a way that it caters to your requirements. Comment.

(Laughs) Well, I don’t exactly deny what you say, but such instances occur only with the objective of overall upliftment — the outcome of which will benefit everyone concerned with the film. As an actor I can, to an extent, understand the expectations of the audience from my films and it is only quite natural that I chip in to give some value additions, going by the past precedence. I think there is nothing wrong in wanting to get every element right.

Why did not you sport a six-pack though you did remove your shirt in the climax of Velayudham? Even Vishal has tried it out recently.
Just because a couple of my co-stars are emulating a particular style, am I obligated to follow suit? It is not my cup of tea. Taking the shirt off for the sake of a duel was sufficient, isn’t?
Barring a few films like

Priyamudan, you haven’t really taken the off-beat path?
You see, my audience expects certain definite aspects from all my films and it becomes my duty to sincerely try to give them what they want. Deviating from that may not be a satisfactory move as far as my fans are concerned. But I would not refrain from trying out such themes provided they fit into the prescribed commercial format which we normally adhere to. For that matter, wait for Nanban, which isn’t the commercial routine. Wait for the film of Gautham Menon. Before that Murugadoss’ film will roll out. All these will showcase me in a different light.


Most Recent