Adhik Ravichandran (director of Trisha Illana Nayanthara), YouTuber-comedian Aswin Rao and Arjun Chidambaram of Moone Moonu Vaarthai fame are fanboys of Ajith Kumar, and this is evident from the way they talk. “We don’t mind repeating the same stuff again and again during promotions. We think it’s worth our energy,” they say. In this chat with indianexpress.com, the trio share how it was to share screen space with Ajith in Nerkonda Paarvai, releasing this Thursday.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
What are the takeaways from Nerkonda Paarvai?
Adhik: Lots of positivity and self-confidence. I had mental blocks regarding my life and film career before doing Nerkonda Paarvai. It has changed. I am a different person now. My personality and thought process also changed. I saw myself evolving for better and the main reason is this film’s content and Ajith sir.
Aswin: When I was approached by the makers, I thought someone was playing a prank. The whole experience was surreal. (Smiles)
Arjun: I feel proud of myself for having done Nerkonda Paarvai. It’s truly a blessing to work with Ajith sir.
Was the director in you active, Adhik?
The minute I signed up for this film, the director in me went into a coma. (Laughs) All I did was to follow the instructions of Vinoth sir and be truthful to my character.
At any point of time, did you guys feel like swapping your roles?
Arjun: Not at all. But I wish I had more dialogues and scenes with Ajith sir.
Aswin, you are a standup comedian. Did you have apprehensions doing a serious role in Nerkonda Paarvai?
Out of the three films I have done, none of them falls under the comedy genre. Since that comes easy to me, I am happy I am not doing similar roles. I am not typecasting myself and putting myself in a box, saying “I am a comedian, so let me do comedy.” It is nice that I explore the other side of the business—character roles and slightly heavy ones. Also, I am not in a position to make decisions. Whatever falls on my lap is mine. The biggest challenge for me is that I have not formally studied Tamil. I am not very fluent with the language.
What’s the one thing you liked about your role?
Adhik: I liked everything about my role. I liked being in Ajith and Vinoth sir’s film. I just wanted to make sure I did my part well.
Arjun: I am not that guy in real life. It’s interesting, right? One thing I did not like about my role is the kind of things I had to do. It was very uncomfortable to do a particular scene in the climax. But as an actor, it’s a part of my job. Honestly, I started behaving like a cocky bastard because my character is like that. (Laughs) And, my folks had to put me in place. A little bit of method acting there, I guess. But I am out of it now.
How was the first day of the shoot?
Aswin: Four of us were there including Sujith Shankar. We attended the puja and we were given garlands. This has never happened before. It was reassuring and we knew our roles were significant. We immediately got along with each other well.
Arjun: Day one with Ajith sir, on the other hand, was fantastic. He was always in our conversations, those 25 days (we shot). I don’t think it has sunk in yet that we are part of an Ajith film. Maybe, on the first day first show of the movie, with the unique environment that Ajith brings, it will sink in. (Laughs)
Adhik: Ajith sir is a gentleman. Also, he is someone you want to be after 10 years or so. It’s nice to look up to the man and hope to be 5% of who he is as a human being.
How was the last day with Ajith sir?
Adhik: With every passing day, we used to feel very depressed that the shoot is going to get over soon. Because we didn’t know when we would get to work with him next.
Why do you think Nerkonda Paarvai is different from Ajith’s regular films?
Arjun: There are a few things that are going to surprise the audience. Firstly, Ajith sir picking up this script. Secondly, the reality with which Vinoth sir has approached it. And thirdly, us. (Laughs) But with Nerkonda Paarvai, Tamil cinema will take a leap forward. What once was taboo will not be taboo anymore.
Aswin: Pink works for a North Indian audience but can’t be relatable in the south because of cultural differences. It has been three years since Pink got released and society has seen drastic changes since then. Vinoth sir adapted all those changes and packaged the film for a south Indian audience.
Adhik: The general complaint is that, normally, big stars don’t accept content-driven scripts like Nerkonda Paarvai. But after this one, all the big stars will do such films. Ajith sir has set a big example for others. Another big surprise will be Rangaraj Pandey sir. He has done a fantastic job, even though this is his first film. He tediously studied his lines to act opposite Ajith sir.