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Exclusive! Arun Vijay: As an actor, I feel there are a lot of things to explore in the OTT space

The actor gets candid ahead of his project Tamil Rockerz dropping on OTT this Friday

Exclusive! Arun Vijay: As an actor, I feel there are a lot of things to explore in the OTT space

Arun Vijay in Tamil Rockerz

  • Thinkal Menon

Last Updated: 02.49 PM, Aug 17, 2022

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Arun Vijay, who has had his first theatrical release in the pandemic era with Yaanai recently, has geared up for the release of Tamil Rockerz which marks his first web series in his career. The project, which is dropping on SonyLIV on August 19, is also his OTT debut.

It brings him and director Arivazhagan for the third time after Kuttram 23 and the yet-to-be-released movie Borrder. Tamil Rockerz has been carrying good expectations among film lovers, thanks to its unique title and the subject it deals with. Arun talks about his character in the series, advantages of associating with OTT platforms, the reason why he chose to do the project and how piracy affects the film industry in a free-wheeling chat with OTTplay.   

Tamil Rockerz deals with a dreaded network which indulges in creating pirated versions of movies which caused nightmares to Tamil film industry. What can the audience look forward to in the series which handles a unique plot?

We have chosen a subject which has been posing a threat to Kollywood for a few years. We felt this is a story which should be told and we are glad we got the opportunity. I couldn't say no when I was approached by director Arivazhagan and AVM Productions. I have worked with the former twice earlier and the latter is a leading production house. I had a wonderful time playing Rudra, a cop in the film. I'm looking forward to the response from the audience. 

How did the team zero in on this unexplored storyline?

Both the director and production house decided on this storyline. They felt this is a topic which needs to be explored in an extensive manner. It's good to see them coming up with something relevant like this. Touching upon the topic of piracy sites is a huge responsibility. The whole credit goes to both of them as I believe it has shaped up wonderfully. 

A still from Tamil Rockerz
A still from Tamil Rockerz

How much of the events in the web series are based on true events?

We haven't mentioned a few names and references directly, but almost half of the film is based on true incidents. We have fictionalized a few things to engage the viewers. I was astonished while listening to its script - the manner in which piracy networks function and the way they upload content to websites - was a shock for me. I'm sure the audience will have an awareness of pirated versions and will think of refraining from watching movies and series from illegal sites. 

How much could you relate to this subject as an actor? How personal is the project for you?

It's really personal for me. The entire Tamil film industry has been carrying out several measures to bring down piracy sites which affected box office prospects of many films. Ultimately, it is the audience who should realize that they are making a mistake by watching films on pirated sites. We are here to entertain them, so all they can do is watch their preferred content in theatres or on legitimate sites. They should respect the efforts that go into making movies. 

You play a cop in Tamil Rockerz who sets out to hunt down a dreaded crime network. How differently is your character designed from the previous projects that had you essaying similar roles?

I played a cop in Kuttram 23 which also had Arivazhagan at the helm. I essay a different cop in Sinam which is yet to hit the screens. This time around, the role I have taken up has character traits which are distinct when compared to the earlier ones. He's a cop who doesn't like movies, but has been assigned a case to nab the dangerous network which is hampering the growth of the film industry. At a certain point in the story, he realizes the efforts that go into filmmaking and how the industry feeds many people. Our effort is to ensure that the audience too realizes the same.  

Why do you think the subject demanded a web series and not a feature film?

I don't think this is a subject which can be narrated in two-and-a-half hours. Moreover, in a web series, we have freedom in terms of character development. We could explain and showcase many aspects of the plot in the way we wanted to in Tamil Rockerz because of its long-form format.

Do you think films getting pirated could be averted forever or curbed to a great extent?

I think we could curb this to a large extent with available technologies. I'm sure there are ways with which pirated content which gets uploaded could be removed quickly. And there could be methods with which it becomes almost impossible or difficult to upload films on various sites.  

A still from the series
A still from the series

Your film, Oh My Dog, had a direct OTT release earlier this year. A month ago, you had a theatrical release. Now, you are making your series debut with Tamil Rockerz. How do you look at the changing trend in content consumption?

Oh My Dog was actually supposed to have a theatrical release, but the pandemic spoiled our plans. Tamil Rockerz, on the other hand, was made for OTT and marks my digital debut. The project's director and producers instilled the much-needed confidence in me to venture into the OTT space. As an actor, I feel there are a lot of things to explore in OTT avenues. It' a great medium to collaborate with.

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