Jayam Ravi had his first release of the year with Bogan, directed by Lakshman. The film has received its share of decent reviews and Ravi’s earnest work in a role with various shades has been appreciated by critics and fans. The tall and handsome hero opens up to Kaushik LM in this freewheeling interview for Only Kollywood.
When other leading directors must have been waiting for you, doing back to back films for Lakshman came as a surprise to us. What impresses you the most about him?
“The thing that I admire the most about Lakshman is that he can relate to the audiences. This talent is very important for a director and he always keeps the viewers in mind. I also consider this vibe as an important factor. This is the ‘audience pulse’ in cinematic terms.”
Working again with Arvind Swami in Bogan must have been a much more familiar and friendly experience compared to Thani Oruvan, right?
“We did not have much combination scenes in Thani Oruvan, and we didn’t have to meet much on spot. But, there were lots of combination scenes in Bogan and we had good fun, with lots of talk about cinema and our personal lives. It was like a reunion.”
Arvind Swami is known for his aura and majestic screen presence. Sharing the screen with him can make an actor feel slightly insecure, right?
“I wouldn’t act alongside him if I think along those lines. I have that self-confidence to win over the audiences with my talent. The film should always decide the actors required, other factors shouldn’t come into play.”
You and Hansika have come a long way since Engeyum Kaadhal. How do you see her growth and maturity as an actress?
“I see a new performer in every film and she makes me wonder, with her improvements. She was a teen during Engeyum Kaadhal and only that much maturity was required. She performed like a degree holder in Romeo Juliet, while she has reached a professor’s stature in Bogan (laughs). She has a fulfilling role and it’s not just about song and dance routines. Though we are basically friends, we still have to work hard to bring out that chemistry. The audience has to feel along with our characters.”
You have completed almost 15 years in cinema. What goes into your choice of films, after this many years in the field?
“I’ve loved cinema from the outset. I’ve learnt so much from it and wish to deliver something new with my work. I want to gift something back to cinema, through better films like Peraanmai, Boologam and Thani Oruvan. This mindset has always been there in me but now it’s working out well with proper planning and timing. I feel bored to do the same stuff again and again. I believe in strong, engaging scripts irrespective of the genre, format of the film. This motto keeps guiding me while listening to scripts.”
Your upcoming lineup looks really diverse and ambitious. Can you throw more light on their progress?
“Vanamagan will be a universal subject based on the crux ‘Who is a better human?’. We are trying a simultaneous Telugu release too for Vanamagan.
With Tik Tik Tik, unlike Miruthan, we don’t want to miss out on the kids. The film will have educational value for school kids with its portrayal of space. From Feb 15, we will go on a big shooting stretch with simultaneous shoots in 4 sets, each day. The sets are ready at EVP World.
Sangamithra has always been Sundar anna’s dream film and we’ve wanted to work together since long. This will also be my first film with Rahman sir. The film has a terrific script, and the script will decide every other aspect. There is lots of work ahead of me, and the training has already started. I have to beef up a lot and look like the ‘300’ warrior (laughs).”
Will the Miruthan sequel happen?
“Yes. We are planning it like a superhero franchise. Kids should also get to see the following parts of Miruthan.”
How has the industry changed from the time you came in (Jayam in 2003) to now?
“Generations keep changing and the industry also keeps changing and adapting according to that. We are in the social media age now and everyone reviews films. Runs have shortened but the releases are wider and recovery options are better. Solo releases work best! This is an instant gratification generation and the audience wants something new. It’s a segmented audience now and different films are being made to cater to particular groups.”
Over these 14 years or so, how has the audience’s perception of you changed?
“That perception has surprisingly not changed at all. There have been no black-marks and controversies to mar my career. I’ve been honest to
my work and the audiences have taken note. I’ve also realized that films are not just for entertainment, but to deliver valid social messages too, like in films like Peraanmai and Boologam. I’m very happy that audiences have accepted me in this space too.”
How is your son Aarav faring in his debut ‘Tik Tik Tik’?
“He watches all my movies and I feel that he has an inborn interest in cinema. We’ll limit him to just this one film, and he’ll continue to focus on his studies. Though he is a very restless kid otherwise, he is very observant and attentive at the shooting spot (laughs).”
Your brother Mohan Raja’s terrific resurgence must make you feel immensely proud right?
“Though people realize his caliber only now, I’ve always been proud of him right from his short-film days, 15 years back. I had been telling him to do straight films all along. We are planning my 25th film as Thani Oruvan 2 (Bogan is the 20th).”
“My family keeps me happy and I’m also not one to stress too much. I live in the moment and am a ‘now’ person. I want to feel all the emotions in the same day and I don’t make big plans for the future.”, signs off Ravi in a content tone.
Interviewed by Kaushik LM