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Exclusive! Making quality films doesn't necessarily guarantee its success at the box office: Vidharth

The actor's latest release, Payanigal Gavanikkavum, the Tamil remake of Vikruthi, streams on aha Tamil

  • S Subhakeerthana

Last Updated: 10.23 AM, May 04, 2022

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Exclusive! Making quality films doesn't necessarily guarantee its success at the box office: Vidharth

Vidharth in Payanigal Gavanikkavum

It is easy to be caught in an image trap when you are an actor working in Tamil films. Vidharth knows this quite well. That's why he has done 25-something films, in his 20-year film career. He would rather go slow and perfect his performance with every film than sign projects one after another. After the success of Mynaa, though it wasn't a smooth ride for Vidharth, he chose to put up a strong fight. “My priority is to get better at what I do. I am content doing films that earn me respect. Making quality films doesn't necessarily guarantee its success at the box office. I have come to terms with it!”

He first appeared on the big screen in Gautham Menon's Minnale. “It was a blink-and-miss role. Though I have come a long way, I am still a struggling actor", smiles Vidharth. “When good films fail, I feel bad because as a team we would have put in so much effort. I always introspect and analyse what could have gone wrong. Luckily, people come to me with all kinds of stories because I don't have a tag. I hear a lot of stories, but I only pick those that excite the performer in me.”

Vidharth doesn't mince words when talking about content-driven films failing at the box office. “Though Kuttrame Thandanai, Oru Kidayin Karunai Manu and Kurangu Bommai were critically acclaimed, business-wise, they didn't do well. It's both sad and unfortunate. On the other hand, films that I rejected went on to become hits. Sometimes, the math fails," he laughs.

Vidharth’s idea of a good film is very different…it might or might not work at the box office but it is what it is. “People might have thought Kuttrame Thandanai was slow but that’s the kind of cinema I want to be a part of. I have witnessed such stories in real life!” To him, “the sense of satisfaction he manages to create the character exactly how he had imagined him to be, is the biggest high.”

The actor displays amazing levels of confidence. After a pause, he adds, “I have survived, I can, and I will. I am just worried about the filmmakers, who are extremely passionate about the art of storytelling. They come up with such good stories, yet fail. I don't want to see that anymore. They should win. To make this happen, top actors should talk about good films more; so that the reach gets better.”

Vidharth has an appeal to the bigwigs of Kollywood. “Many celebrities rave about my films when they bump into me. But nobody talks about how good they were, on social media. Had they tweeted a word, I am sure, at least, it would have reached their fans!”

The actor owes it all to his Chennai-based Koothu-P-Pattarai, one of the prominent theatre groups in the country. “Theatre gives the confidence to improvise. When filmmakers give space for me to improvise, I make the best use of it. Be it the theatre, or cinema, I will never take my audience for granted. Also, I am grateful to those who come up with constructive criticism. My downfall will begin the day I start taking feedback lightly!”

Our conversation veers to a kutty story. “My mum is a great cook. Sometimes, the dosa doesn't pan out the way I like. This doesn't mean my mum has lost her touch. It simply means the next time, she will do better.” On a lighter note, he equates the same ideology with films and failure. “Life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes, you achieve. Sometimes, you lose. It's all in the game!"

Vidharth says he will never do a film thinking that it will work or not. “Every time I sign a film, I find myself exploring how much I can push myself as an actor. That's what happened in Payanigal Gavanikkavum, too. I studied only up to class 10, but I articulate myself well because I learn from people and books. Every experience gives way to a new story idea. One should have an open mind and be ready to convert the idea into a movie.”

Though Vidharth is forgetful, you can give him the longest sheet of dialogue and he'll deliver it effortlessly in one take. “Such is my commitment. I was trained in sign language for Payanigal Gavanikkavum by instructor Ramakrishnan, and I picked it up in two days.” The actor wants to produce quality films in future, and be the change he wants to see. “I don't even own a house. My brothers and I bankrolled Kuttrame Thandanai. I just cleared the loan I took for the project. I want to earn more, and spend everything on cinema,” he says.

Does Vidharth think OTT plays a major role in changing the face of Tamil cinema? “Now, everyone watches films and shows at one go from their homes and can react to them instantly. It feels gratifying to see the audience post nice things about Payanigal Gavanikkavum. But social media is equally a toxic space. Sometimes, people even thrash good films. Those times, you have to ignore them, and keep doing your work."

Vidharth, whose Anjamai is up for release, assures, “It will certainly be one notch above Payanigal Gavanikkavum.”

He feels that now is a good time to be in the movies. “A lot of people are trying to change set patterns in cinema. This surge of new voices isn’t new. I am happy to be here. When you do something with passion, interest and belief in it, the process excites you,” Vidharth concludes.

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