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Actor Guru Somasundaram Interview: “Joker is not just about politics”

Guru Somasundaram has established himself as a quality character actor in films like Aaranya Kaandam, Jigarthanda and Pandiya Nadu. He has taken the leap to play the lead role in this Friday’s Joker, directed by Raju Murugan of Cuckoo fame. Somasundaram talks to Kaushik LM for this interview on his Joker experience and more. 

After playing quality support roles, how did it feel to be offered a lead role by a known director? 

“I was scared initially but the script had civic responsibility and I had to accept it. I was happy obviously. We did lot of rehearsals, for about 2 months, and during this time I overcame my fears and doubts on doing the lead role. These rehearsals helped a lot.”

The factors which made you accept Joker?

“Playing the hero was the main reason. Plus, the film offered great scope and posed challenges to a trained actor like me. I had to think and work on my character design, mannerisms, walk etc. I went through lots of preparation.”

How did you bond with your director Raju Murugan?

“He is friendly with all, not just me. He is a very good human being basically. He travels a lot and calls himself a ‘nadoodi’. He is a fine writer too but didn’t force that side of his at the shooting spot. He is a very jovial and free-spirited man.”

 Were you able to relate to the issues that Joker handled?

“Every common man can relate to the film, and obviously I could do the film only after relating to its content. The audience will travel with the film. It deals with current issues but won’t be just about politics. There is a poetic love story and other cinematic elements too in Joker.”

 What do you have to say about your unique career graph? From playing cult character roles to taking on a lead role now …

“I am very happy. Generally, actors fall into a monotonous trap and are forced to become predictable in their choices. Only few actors escape that trap and do varied stuff. I am happy to do so, with all my films since Aaranya Kaandam. After doing all these character roles to playing the hero now, is a rare thing. It’s a great opportunity and I think I have utilized it well. The entire Joker team is happy with the output.”

But is there a regret somewhere about graduating to hero roles quite late?

“I never wanted to get into cinema full-time. I was with Koothu Pattarai for about 10 years and my ambition was centered on the theater scene. Cinema was in a corner of my mind. Aaranya Kaandam gave me a good critical opening and that is taking me forward now. I am true to my craft and am doing cinema honestly. Thankfully, only good roles are coming to me now and creators are offering me ones with substance. They don’t wish to waste me in insignificant roles.”

Post-Joker, would you be game to take up a typical commercial film with song – dance – romance and all? 

“Of course. Commercial cinema is also an art form. I will always look out for a good story and screenplay. I read the script completely before accepting even a small role. I am ready to try all the elements, and will learn the dancing skill if required.”

What next ?

“A film called ‘Vedhalam Sollum Kadhai’ directed by Rathindran. I am playing the Vedhalam.”

“People should come to theaters from August 12th and give us a win”, signs off Somasundaram on a hopeful note.