Interview With

Guru Somasundaram

The mere presence of Guru Somasundaram's name in the cast list of a film assures a content rich cinema and a good fodder for all those movie buffs. This Koothu-P-Pattarai trained actor is playing a gangster in this week's release Vanjagar Ulagam. Jyothsna Bhavanishankar talks to him to find out more about the film, his different appearances and a few aspects of acting.

You are known for choosing quality content. What made you say yes to Vanjagar Ulagam?

Yes, I am very choosy. Script is very important to me and it was very good in Vanjagar Ulagam. Secondly this is a gangster story. I accepted it because I felt it would be a good opportunity for me to portray a gangster.

How do you manage to look different in every picture of yours? What is the secret?

I don't try different looks. In Koothu-P-Pattarai, I used to try different looks and check myself in the mirror. I think, perhaps my face and body structure are such, with less make up and with minor changes I am able to show difference. This helps me in cinema. That's all; there is no secret in it.

Tell us about Vanjagar Ulagam, what it is about? What is your role in it?

Vanjagar Ulagam is a gangster film. It will not be like your usual gangster flick but will be an emotional journey of the gangster Sampath. I play Sampath. There are many characters in the film played by artists like Azhagam Perumal, John Vijay, Vasu Vikram, Chandini, Cibi Bhuvana Chandran, Vishakan and Lens fame JP.

About director Manoj Beedha

Manoj Beedha is young. He is passionate about cinema and has learnt about it in good deal. What I like about him is that he has distributed the work with many and the film can truly be called a team work. He has worked with writer Vinayak and both of them have done the screenplay. Vinayak was there at the spot and there was lot of space for them or the artists to improvise at the sets. So, you will feel the difference in narration. Although it is Manoj Beedha's film in one part, the other parts have been shared among many. Be it the cameraman or the writer, they have all done their job well. The film is a collective work, we can say.

As someone who is serious and passionate about acting, how has the film industry treated you?

Everyone is passionate about their work. But it is just not enough. It also depends on how that passion translates into output. This determines the respect or welcome or the treatment they receive in the industry. I feel my output in cinema is strong acting wise or performance wise. Therefore industry has accepted me as a good performer. That way, I am very happy. And I also would like to mention that it is just not me who is responsible for this acceptance. It also rests with Aaranya Kandam's script and its director Thiagarajan Kumaraaraja; my next milestone Jigarthanda and its director Karthik Subbaraj and to top it all, as my crown, Joker directed by Raju Murugan. Their contribution is also sizeable and for me to shine as actor, I see them as important. They have showcased me as a performer in film world.

When you accept a film, how do you go about approaching it? Do you simply go by the director's vision or add your inputs to it?

After Joker, and the trailers of two of my films, Idhu Vedhalam Sollum Kadhai and Vanjagar Ulagam, people are approaching me with roles wherein I can showcase my talent. I am happy about it and the confidence vested on me by them. At the same time, their expectations render me with responsibilities that I should deliver it well. I am not concerned about whether offers come or not but my worry starts after I get a role as to how I am going to do justice.

By and large, I have never gone and sought chances. A couple of times, when an announcement about a film came, I had met the director to find out if there are roles for me. Usually directors approach me with the story and if the role excites me, I accept. Once I am confirmed in the project, I strike a rapport with the director and his team. It will change the working ecology. They will come out to help me. That's what I do. Later on, while working, there will be constant improvisations, thanks to digital technology, these things are easier. They will take what they want. That's my working pattern.

How do you get out of a character after a film is done? Do you continue to behave like the character in real life too?

After entering theatre, I have got awareness about how the real me, i.e. Somasundaram is. Of course, when I travel through a particular character (in cinema) and come out, it does affect me. When I am working in it, I don't care about it. After I am done with an emotional film, I will try to introspect with the way I talk or behave towards my friends and will try to come out of it. In that way, I should say that theatre training helps a person understand about one's character and eject out unwanted aspects. That's what my long training in Koothu-P-Pattarai had taught me and I am able to realize the change in me. My friends also point out these changes in me.

Extempore acting or method acting-Which one is your pick and why?

Both are a kind of craft, I should say. The challenges are more in extempore acting. You can expect the unexpected in this. It will change according to the capacity of the co-actor. I love extempore acting. But the fear is a little more in this.

Rehearsal is my method acting. It will reduce the level of fear. But one will be very conscious. The first two takes in extempore in cinema will be in one particular manner, the third one will be on the lines of how to repeat the earlier ones.

In theatre extempore is fun. It is like jumping into a waterbody from mountain top. There is thrill and I like it.

Wiki says you are Kollywood's Christian Bale. What is your take on this?

I also saw this. I think they are drawing parallels between our work and perhaps our screen presence. I am very happy to note this. But at the same time I feel it is making me more responsible. When such huge expectations are bestowed upon me, my future films and my performance should satisfy that.

What are your other projects now?

Idhu Vedhalam Sollum Kadhai is complete and awaiting release. Along with me, Ashwin Kakumanu, Abhay Deol and Aishwarya Rajesh are also there. I am also doing Rummy fame Balakrishnan's Gadhayudham. I am in talks with many films. I will be doing a biopic. I am having a good graph now. As much as possible, without giving a gap, I think I will do good films in the near future and will satisfy expectations. After that, let's see!

All the best, Guru Somasundaram!