Jayam Ravi is a happy man. Basking in the success of Adanga Maru, he says he feels “extra special.” He adds, in fact, it’s the same kind of happiness he felt post the release of Thani Oruvan. “The press has been extremely kind to me whenever I come up with content-oriented films. The success of Adanga Maru has changed things. Now I want to be more careful. I understand to an extent what the masses want,” he shares. The actor has completed 15 years in the film industry and calls himself a “different person”. “It’s been a great journey so far. At the same time, I still feel the need to grow more and evolve better as a performer,” he smiles.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
Adanga Maru was the fourth film where you played a police officer.
Oh, yes. But I never planned it that way. I think almost all successful actors have played cop characters at least once in their career. For instance, Vijayakanth has acted in more than 20 films as a police officer.
As for Adanga Maru, was it the script or the role that fascinated you?
Both. Especially when a film has a strong social angle, the cop-angle naturally comes in. I knew the audience would love Adanga Maru because you often don’t see content-driven films backed by strong emotions. What’s interesting is fans seem to relish cop films. I equally enjoyed playing Subash. It’s not your usual cop story. I’m sure you agree that it was presented in a unique way.
How do you show variation in your roles?
My character, Mithran in Thani Oruvan is different from Subash, my role in Adanga Maru. They are two different police officers. They’ve different traits. They’re different people. Consciously, I put in the effort to make sure they don’t look or act the same.
You’ve done a lot of experimentation in terms of genres. Commercial heroes, in general, keep away from films like Bogan, Miruthan, Vanamagan and Tik Tik Tik.
I thank my directors for the same. They come to me with such varied content. At some point, I have to take the risk, right? I know what I’m doing, and it’s all ‘calculated’ risks. Or else, I’d end up repeating myself. When Peranmai happened, a few asked me why I signed the film, but it was a huge turning point in my career. Though it was perhaps not a realistic film, it did allow me to add a lot to my character.
Do you choose films that are socially-inclined or they happen to you?
(Laughs) It works both ways. Be it Nimirnthu Nil, Peranmai or Aadhi Bhagavan, they actually had potential to be great films. Somehow, they didn’t fare well at the box-office. But I don’t regret doing them.
I see that you’re drawn to physically-demanding roles.
You’re right. I’ve been here for more than 15 years, and I think this is the right time to do such films. I now have the energy to do high-octane action sequences. I’m not sure if I’d have the same energy levels in future. It all depends on the script again. If I like a script, I’ll do anything for it. For my upcoming film, the challenge was to play a schoolboy, and I reduced 20 kgs.
Tell us more about that.
2019 looks promising. I have got a couple of exciting projects lined up. One is with debutant Pradeep Ranganathan, a comedy-drama. It’s been a while since I attempted a film that’s high on humour quotient. Kajal Agarwal, Samyukta Hedge, Yogi Babu are a part of the project. A sequel to Thani Oruvan is also on the cards. Just that I’ve to sit with my brother, Mohan Raja and finalise things.
Most of your films have been with new directors. Are you more comfortable with them?
Of course, yes. I have got my share of good work and that’s because of newcomers. When my first film, Jayam was released, I was a nobody. But everyone appreciated the film because it offered something fresh. I’d like to retain the same idea of freshness in all my films. For that, I need people who are open to writing novel scripts. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to work with experienced filmmakers. Above all, I need to be convinced about the story or the character. That comes first for me any day.
How do you see yourself in the next ten years?
That’s a tricky question. I’m happy that I’ve never felt the need to copy anyone, and the challenges have only been from within. All I want is to continue to do good work.