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Exclusive! I don't let criticisms bother me: Vijay Sethupathi on Kaathuvaakula Rendu Kaadhal

Directed by Vignesh Shivn, also starring Nayanthara and Samantha, the quirky love triangle hit the screens, last Friday

  • S Subhakeerthana

Last Updated: 06.59 AM, May 04, 2022

Exclusive! I don't let criticisms bother me: Vijay Sethupathi on Kaathuvaakula Rendu Kaadhal

Vijay Sethupathi along with Nayanthara and Samantha 

In a recent interaction with fans on Twitter, Samantha had asked the audience to "have fun" watching Kaathuvaakula Rendu Kaadhal "without analysing it too much." Her post revealed that she wanted to be a part of a film that (hoped to make people) smile, not think, not over analyse, not dissect. Vijay Sethupathi pretty much resonates with Samantha's thoughts. Vignesh Shivn “made an entertaining film, so that the audience would enjoy it in theatres”, and the team is happy about it.

Excerpts from a conversation below:

How was the experience of reuniting with Vignesh Shivn, after Naanum Rowdy Dhaan?

It has been wonderful. It's not easy to act in his writing. Only during the dubbing, did I find how difficult it must have been to write some of the dialogues and lyrics. His thoughts are simple but often layered with complexities. Listen to Naan Pizhai twice. You'll know what I'm talking about. Initially, when Vikki came to me with the Kaathuvaakula Rendu Kaadhal idea (in 2015), I had asked him to do it with some other actor. But, he insisted that I do it. Also, he convinced me saying only I could pull off the lead role, Rambo. I'm glad the project materialised the same way he exactly conceived it. Everything that matters takes time. (Smiles)

How was it to share screen space with the two powerhouse performers; Samantha and Nayanthara?

Both of them are immensely talented and mature individuals. They have been in the industry for a long time. And, still can choose what they want. That quality speaks a lot about them. Nayanthara and Samantha bonded well on the sets, and it was beautiful to see them that way. They keep complimenting each other for little things. I must confess it was pressurising for me to deliver because they are competitive actors.

Which is your favourite scene in Kaathuvaakula Rendu Kaadhal?

There are many. In particular, I liked the scene where my character proposes to Khatija, on the bridge. There's so much depth and honesty in Vignesh Shivn's writing. I liked Poda Podi. In fact, when he narrated the Naanum Rowdy Dhaan script to me, I never listened to it fully. I just went with my gut feeling. It turned out to be a hit. Sometimes, Vignesh types his scenes on the phone. Sila vishayangalukku, romba menakkiduvaar!

Which quality do you admire in Vignesh Shivn?

He is stubborn about his creative choices. (Laughs) Also, he is spontaneous and intuitive. I think that worked to his favour in Kaathuvaakula... There were times we had differences of opinion, on the sets. But adhellam illenaa, swaarasyam enga? Kaathuvaakula Rendu Kaadhal is a one-man show by Vignesh Shivn. I am amazed by the sense of clarity he has in a few things that belies his age.

How easy or difficult is it to say "no" to films, at this point of your career?

I believe in good scripts. I put in a lot of thought before choosing a film. Nobody wants to do a flop film, after all. Sometimes, the effort works. Sometimes, the effort does not work. For example, Laabam and Tughlaq Durbar met with mixed responses. Are they bad films? No, they aren’t. I don't let criticisms bother me. Ups and downs are everywhere. When I accept success from the audience wholeheartedly, I better accept their verdict, (in a failure) too.

Looking back, how do you feel about your journey, as an actor?

I began my career with a salary of Rs 250, as a junior artiste. The journey has not been easy, but it is worthwhile. I am grateful for a lot of things that I never thought would happen. (Acting with Kamal sir, Rajini sir.) I never thought a film like Vikram would happen to me. I don't think I have met a responsible actor like Kamal sir. It took a while for me to understand his sensibilities, but what a star he is! He rises like a phoenix every time he falls. Vikram is a blessing to me, and I trust the film will be an important turning point in my career, as well. I remember I had gone to the Nammavar shooting in 1994. Kari soru potaanga; nalla saapten. I got rejected by the makers, as they felt I was too young for the role I had auditioned for. (Laughs) I just saw Kamal sir from a distance. It is unbelievable that I play the villain in his film, now. Everything feels surreal.

Pick some of your films that are close to your heart.

I have a list; konjam neelama pogum! Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom, Idharkuthane Aasaipattai Balakumara, Aandavan Kattalai, Purampokku Engira Podhuvudamai, Sethupathi, Iraivi, and so on. A string of good films happened to me during that phase. But, you never know why a film works. I simply enjoy the process, and I don't think about the results. Romba yosikka koodadhu... (Pauses)

I had been wanting to work with Thiagarajan Kumararaja, after watching Aaranya Kaandam. Eventually, Super Deluxe happened. I had auditioned for Va: Quarter Cutting, but I was rejected. Vikram Vedha happened with the same filmmaker-duo, in 2017. My life has been a bundle of surprises, like my character (Rambo) in Kaathuvaakula Rendu Kaadhal. (Laughs)