If Mani Ratnam’s units have been a classroom, Karthi could be the star pupil. So say the forged of Ponniyin Selvan.
Seated comfortably on the director’s Madras Talkies’ workplace, the actor grins sheepishly once we point out this. ” Apdi lam kedaiyathu (It is not like that),” he says grinning, “The different actors pull my leg, saying that he by no means scolds me. I’m simply honest, that is all.”
The Viruman star admits that working with the ace filmmaker nonetheless seems like “going to school”; Karthi was an assistant director to Ratnam in 2004 ( Aayutha Ezhuthu) and later starred in Kaatru Veliyidai (2017). “Nothing a lot has modified since then. So many choices in my profession have been influenced by Mani sir and the attitude he offers me. With him, you possibly can at all times ask questions and get insights. Being on the PS units was akin to peeking into a special lab every day, and discovering entire new worlds.”
Karthi, who was requested by the director to learn the script first earlier than ending the Ponniyin… novel, says that his character, Vanthiyathevan, has a number of shades to him. “When you are performing majestic like a king, it’s simple, however my character, who undergoes a number of moods and feelings, was powerful to crack. There are 5 lakh variations of Vanthiyathevan within the minds of individuals who have learn the guide, and I wanted to dwell as much as their expectations.”
Karthi and Vikram in ‘Ponniyin Selvan’
That stems from the truth that his character, who, in a narrative primarily about royalty, will get to be goofy and jovial. “In historic topics in Tamil cinema, humour is uncommon; it was often left to comedians and not heroes. Balaiyaa’s histrionics as Hemanatha Bhagavathar in Thiruvilayadal have been extraordinary, as an example, with Sivaji Ganesan completely complementing his character. With Vanthiyathevan, the problem was how we have been going to current the wealthy materials.”
He grudgingly agrees that some of his personal persona comes throughout in Vanthiyathevan. “He smiles, flirts and cracks jokes.. We haven’t seen anybody like him since Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow within the Pirates (of the Caribbean) motion pictures. Whereas Vikram’s Aditya Karikalan is a traditional ‘man’s man’; the courageous hero we historically see in epics. Could individuals nonetheless respect a personality such because the one I painting? That was the most important problem for me, and I trusted Mani sir implicitly.”
For all of the vital sequences, Karthi says he would re-read that part of the guide earlier than heading for the shot. He laughs, “Mani sir would say, ‘He’s asking too many questions. Did he learn the guide and come?'”
Galloping to glory
Karthi needed to discover ways to run, swim and even experience a horse in heavy armour. “My armour was my second pores and skin. Generally, I’ve this raasi in my profession of sporting the identical costume all through the movie, and that got here to hang-out me right here too,” he laughs.
It helped that he bought to spend so much of time with horses. “Ravi (Jayam Ravi) saved pulling my leg, saying that I spent extra time speaking to the horses than him. A horse is just not like a Kinetic Honda; it doesn’t transfer after you simply hop on. You have to attach and vibe,” he says.
Karthi initially needed to spend time with one horse and perceive its behaviour earlier than heading for the shoot, however that was not potential as a result of lockdown and pandemic restrictions. His adeptness at horse driving because of an earlier movie ( Kaashmora) helped. “We shot Ponniyin Selvan in full gallop, which signifies that when I’m driving a horse, I’m really driving it for 50-60 kilometres. Anand (sound engineer Anand Krishnamoorthi) as soon as recorded a observe of its breath, and it was astonishing to listen to how the horse’s respiratory sample matched my tense respiratory.”
Karthi in a nonetheless from the movie
Winning the favored vote
When the movie was first introduced, there have been a number of debates on its casting decisions, however virtually everybody agreed that Karthi was an amazing option to play Vanthiyathevan. “I used to be actually scared initially, however what gave me confidence was that folks accepted me within the position. I’ve performed 25 movies now, however right here I used to be enjoying a personality that folks had imagined for therefore lengthy in their minds. I spoke to a historian who instructed me that many individuals misrepresent Vanthiyathevan to be a spy or messenger — however no — he’s additionally a prince. He’s a royal skilled in administration, politics and battle, which is why he’s Aditya Karikalan’s greatest good friend and trusted by him. In quick, he’s an IAS officer and not using a division!”
Karthi describes his scenes with Jayaram (who performs Azhwarkadiyan Nambi) as some of essentially the most particular moments on the units. “I’ve beloved Jayaram since Chanakyan (1989), and later in his movies with Kamal sir like Tenali and Panchathanthiram. Here, his character is meant to be nosy and sarcastic; the best way he acts even when he would not have dialogues is fabulous. Azhwarkadiyan Nambi is meant to be quick and fats; Jayaram is just not that in actual life so, he needed to change his physique language and hunch. We rehearsed many occasions on our sequences and the time spent with a senior actor like him was a studying expertise.”
Setting the usual for grandeur
The actor describes Kalki’s novel as “fascinating” and a wealthy historical past lesson, woven with tune and poetry. “Most intriguing to me have been the facility dynamics detailed within the guide; in these occasions, a king was thought-about the supreme chief, equal to a God.”
With Ponniyin Selvan, he feels fortunate to have been half of a undertaking that many huge names of Tamil cinema, together with MGR, Sivaji Ganesan and Kamal Haasan, dreamt of however didn’t execute.
“We have stayed as true to the writing as potential, however made inventive decisions so as to compress the intensive materials into a movie. How else do you current it to an viewers, 90% of whom haven’t but learn the novel? Bringing all of the story arcs collectively, streamlining them with out confusion, and deciding which bits to boost with visible grandeur… that is the place Mani sir’s true genius lies. Also, not like different historic fiction options, most of the movie has been shot outdoor in actual areas. Just like in Gladiator or the collection Rome, Ponniyin Selvan will take you into the guts of the city and interval it is set in.”
Karthi concludes saying that his admiration for Mani Ratnam has solely elevated over time and repeated interactions. “He has set the usual for grandeur, aesthetics and colourin Tamil cinema,” he says excitedly, “Remember the Pachai Nirame observe ( Alaipayuthe), which confirmed us how lovely inexperienced could possibly be? Or the stylish white shirt and beige pants in Mouna Raagam; it was the identical color mixture that loads of us complained about in our college uniforms!”
Mani Ratnam and Jayam Ravi on the units of the movie
Jayam Ravi sees the massive image
Dreams do come true. Ask Jayam Ravi, and he’ll inform you all about it.
He vividly remembers the day when he bought a name from Mani Ratnam’s workplace, in search of a gathering. “He mentioned he was going to make Ponniyin… and as a fan of the guide, I used to be thrilled. When he mentioned he needed me to do the title position (of Arunmozhi Varman, or Ponniyin Selvan), I used to be thrilled to bits.”
Unlike a number of different actors on this all-star forged, that is Ravi’s first collaboration with Mani Ratnam. Ravi says he retains asking why he was chosen for this magnum opus, then tells himself that it is the outcome of the arduous work he has put in since his debut in Jayam (2003). “When AR Rahman bagged an Oscar, it was not only for his work in that individual movie alone, however recognition for his a few years in movies. Just like that, I see my choice as a reward for the work I’ve put in all these years. This undertaking may have been performed by any era of actors, however that it was made now and that I’m an enormous half of it’s a enormous blessing,” says Ravi, including that he additionally cherished the time he spent with actor Vikram, who’s an in depth good friend.
Jayam Ravi on the units of the movie
Everything on the units was as actual as potential, he provides. “The mise en scène, which signifies all the weather in a body, was so apt. For occasion, if there have been potatoes saved within the market throughout a scene, he (Mani Ratnam) would discover and take away them, stating that this wasn’t a vegetable that flourished throughout that interval.”
Ponniyin Selvan is about to launch in theatres on September 30