‘Rising Star’ Sivakarthikeyan is among the new wave of actors who understands the importance of marketing and promotions. He has been busy promoting his Oct 7 release, Remo, across the globe. He also spared time to catch up with Only Kollywood’s Kaushik LM for an extensive interview. Excerpts below:
How is the feeling ahead of the release of your most ambitious film till date?
“I am feeling tense, excited and happy at the same time. How people received my lady look was key and I am happy with the positive reception so far. According to me, the toughest role change in cinema has to be cross-dressing. It is very tough to make it look apt on screen. So far, we have passed our quarterly and half yearly exams with distinction (laughs). The annual exam (release day) awaits and we have prepared well to face the audience.”
What impressed you the most about debut director Bakkiyaraj Kannan?
“Remo has all the commercial entertainment elements – from comedy in the first half with Sathish, the introduction of the girl character, a proper love sequence in the 2nd half for about 10 mins and good emotions which appealed to me. Remo has something for all, be it kids or lovers or families or the youth. It is not just full-fledged humor here. Bakki is particularly very strong in dialogues, and this was evident in the trailer itself.
“Your bond with producer RD Raja is a good example of friendship and mentorship. How did it begin?
“I got acquainted with R.D.Raja during Marina’s release and promotions. He was always energetic and very frank, matter of fact in his feedback, without any exaggerations. He called a spade a spade. He was the one who assembled my films like Kedi Billa Killadi Ranga, Varuthapadatha Vaalibar Sangam, Maan Karate and Rajini Murugan, and also took care of their promotions in the best possible way.I wanted him to get into production back in 2014 itself, but it finally happened with Remo. I thought of producing Remo initially but finally decided against it as I wanted Raja to go to the next level. He also accepted my suggestion and I am very happy that he’s the producer of Remo. He’s someone who’ll work 24*7. For Remo, he was involved in all the aspects, starting from the designs. He exhibits such passion, and I get inspired seeing his work ethic.”
Will you also take up films with outside banners or stick to Raja’s 24 AM Studios for the near future?
“Though I am committed for back to back films in his banner, I will do films for outside banners too. In 4-5 months’ time, an announcement may also come, in this regard.
“What was your biggest takeaway working with legendary technicians like PC Sreeram and Resul Pookutty?
“PC sir saw this lady look as a challenge and whenever I (as the nurse) was required to be in the same frame as Keerthy, his lighting was extraordinary. The lighting can’t be even for such frames as the contrasts between her natural face and my overtly made-up face would become blatant. It’s a great technique and he completely enjoyed this process of making the nurse look as beautiful as Keerthy. He saw it as a contest between two beautiful girls in the frame. Another routine which we enjoyed was waking up at 4 am and going for early morning shoots. He prefers starting the shoots before sunrise and it was a great experience shooting on silent roads.
When I called him to thank him post the superb response to the trailer, he said, “Don’t thank me Siva, I am very happy doing this film. I’ll miss all of you once the post production is wrapped. You can approach me anytime, I’ll take up any film for you.” I’ll never forget these words and it’s a big gift.
Coming to Resul sir, he put me through a different kind of dubbing approach. He used three different mics to capture my lines and said that he would use the appropriate one based on the camera angles used in the shot. It was a new experience for me. Be it PC sir or Resul sir, they continue their quest for learning even now. They don’t tutor and instruct others. That’s my biggest learning from them, that they never get complacent with their level of skills and continue pushing their boundaries.”
In what direction, your career will be headed over the next couple of years?
“Mohan Raja sir’s film will have a strong message and story for the next generation. The film has so many top actors such as Prakash Raj sir, Fahadh, Sneha mam, Nayanthara and of course the likes of RJ Balaji, Sathish and Robo Shankar. I am excited as well as slightly scared about getting into this film.
My next film with Ponram will definitely be a profitable prospect, in our regular pattern but with more action this time around. Ponram is a director who deserves more respect and a better pay packet, as he has a proven blockbuster track record and completes his films as per plan and within the stipulated time limits.
The film with ‘Indru Netru Naalai’ Ravikumar would definitely be different, with the expected entertainment elements. It won’t miss Ravikumar’s style of sci-fi and fantasy ideas as that’s how his thought process naturally is. This film involves extensive pre-production and it will be an ambitious attempt. He wants to take his time and do it patiently. We aren’t in any hurry and want to be meticulous with it.”
At an awards night in 2014, when the anchor asked you about your wish-list of heroines to act with, you took the names of Samantha, Nayanthara, Tamannaah etc. Now, your two upcoming films would have Nayan and Sam sharing the screen space with you. Your career graph has shot up in double quick time ...
“I’ve crossed that age and maybe have become mature enough to not get excited about acting and dancing with such big heroines. I don’t see that as an achievement but it’s definitely a good thing to act with them. Be it Nayanthara, Samantha, Keerthy or Sri Divya, I am happy acting with all of them. Heroines always have good scope in my films, with nice love numbers, variety of scenes and decent portrayals.
Particularly, Nayanthara is a top star in the South now, and she can take a film ahead, without a hero too. I can learn a lot from her.
“Your growth is being seen as an inspiration by fans now. There were so many nice MEMEs after that huge Sathyam Cinemas Remo banner came up?
“I enjoy every minute of such attention and this makes me love cinema even more. So many people sketch my portraits and upload them in Twitter. They go beyond just seeing my films and indulge in such activities. I totally respect their efforts and make sure to encourage them in Twitter with a Like or a RT. This is actually the main reason why I am in social media nowadays. I keep seeing all these tweets and messages whenever I feel depressed and I instantly get motivated. Post the title announcement of Remo, it was trending for about 17 hours in Twitter. I can’t expect anything more.
“We are expecting a lot from you, Siva. Keep bettering yourself.
Interviewed by Kaushik LM