Interviewer : Hemananth | Camera : Hemananth | Text: Jyothsna
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Jai who debuted as Vijay’s younger brother in Bhagavathy has come a long way. One of the regulars in Venkat Prabhu’s films, Jai is said to have delivered a career best performance in Aval Peyar Tamilarasi, the film which won rave reviews in international film festivals. Meet Jai, our guest for this week!

A brief introduction

Hi, this is Jai. Aval Peyar Tamilarasi is my next film after Goa. This is the first time you will be seeing me in 2-3 getups, the main ones being that of an eighteen year old boy and a twenty-eight year old man. I have worked very hard to shed a lot of kilos to sport the school boy look and later added much flab and muscle to look a matured man in his late twenties. It was my long nurtured dream to appear in various get ups in a single film and my dreams have come true in Aval Peyar Tamilarasi. I am also anxious about the audience’s response.

" My dreams have come true in Aval Peyar Tamilarasi "

" Nandagi did not impress
me while shooting "

About the heroine?

For heroine Nandagi, APT is her first film and she has done a superb job. Nandagi did not impress me while shooting but I saw her acting potential only during dubbing. I am very sure she will do many films and will make it big in the industry.

About your character in the film?

My name is Jyothi Murugan in APT. Although I am basically from Chennai (in the film), my parents fearing that I may go astray in the city, leave me with my grand father in Tirunelveli. Right from childhood, you see a girl and you have fond feelings for her but you are not sure if it is love. When that girl suddenly disappears from your life, you will certainly go in search of her. The search that I undertake to find this girl when she goes missing is all APT is about. I am not saying this is the first of its kind in Tamil cinema but the film has been narrated in a different manner.

About your look in APT

After Subramaniapuram, I thought I should never court a beard and should not smile in the same manner. However, to show the difference between an 18 year old and 28 year old, beard became essential in APT. We took pictures of me without beard and with just spectacles to show as a 28 year old but it did not work. So I decided the look with beard and specs and it was liked by everyone. But there was also a talk that the look was akin to Jeeva in Thamizh MA. We did not want that and realized that the spectacle was the reason. Hence we took off the spectacles from my appearance but beard was needed because when a man is in search of his woman, it is only normal that he will not find time to shave everyday.

Music director in APT

Vijay Antony has scored music and he has recently given many folk hit numbers. In APT also, you have such a number- Palayankottai- where I have rendered heavy dance movements. But my favorite is ‘othai sollu’ which I am sure would reach greater levels.

How do you choose the scripts?

When stories are being narrated to me, I would look for some kind of flaws in it. If it does not have any, then I would see if I had done such a story earlier and whether it would suit me. If I am satisfied with these parameters, then I give the go ahead immediately. If I indeed have done similar storyline earlier, I request them to wait for a while. I don’t insist for a fight scene or dance sequence or demand changes in the script. I have not reached that level.

What kind of a film is APT?

Aval Peyar Tamilarasi is a normal commercial film. There is Ganja Karuppu and also a gaana song in it. There is also comedy, action, sentiment and romance. It is a normal film. When it was being screened in Dubai International Film Festival, people wondered if it’s a ‘festival’ film. As the director wanted the stills to have a poetic look about them, it appears like a festival film. But APT is also a type of a commercial film.

" Aval Peyar Tamilarasi is
a normal commercial film "

" APT climax may not
send shock waves across "

Is the climax of APT very different and special?

APT climax may not send shock waves across like Subramaniapuram did. And the audience may not go gaga over the climax. However you will see the climax that is essential for the film.

What is your take on negative climax in films?

If audience wants to just enjoy the two and a half hours spent at the theatres, then films like Kaadal, Sethu, Paruthiveeran and Subramaniapuram would not have been hits because they have negative climax. As these films are super hits, it only goes on to indicate that audience likes negative climax too. Hence I feel negative climax is not bad.

" negative climax is not bad "

About director Meera Kadiravan?

APT is Meera Kadiravan’s first film. He has worked under Balu Mahendra. The story was narrated to me in August 2007 when I was shooting Subramaniapuram. I told Kadiravan that it would take at least a year for me to get free from Subramaniapuram and if it is ok with him to wait, he can; otherwise I promised him that I will work for him later. But he waited till I completed Subramaniapuram. And I am happy that I did APT because the film has come out very well, thanks to Meera Kadiravan.

Do you offer any technical assistance to the films that you work?

Although my name never appears in the title cards of Chennai -28, I assisted Venkat Prabhu in the film. As I am a trained musician, I had worked in the re-recording of Chennai-28 along with Premji. Similarly, I had helped Vaamanan team also. It is just extending assistance which results from the idea that the film should look good. That’s about it. In Goa, Sakthi Saravanan taught me many camera techniques. I learn the technical aspects of film making from others. However, on the acting front, I continuously improvise seeing the performance of others. In APT also, I visualized the reactions of the hero if it were to happen to a normal boy and I did not put Jai in that spot. Generally I watch Kamal’s films a lot like Mahanadi, Anbe Sivam, Hey Ram and such powerful ones.

" I have only scored three marks out of hundred in acting "

Do you want to direct films?

According to me I have only scored three marks out of hundred in acting. I will foray into direction only after I have satisfied myself in the acting department. But I would like to be an assistant director as there is so much scope for learning there. So as of now, no direction for me.

About producer Dhananjayan?

Moser Baer Dhananjayan is the producer of APT. When the story of APT was narrated to him and my name was suggested by the director, it was he who approved the selection. I should first convey my thanks to him. I consider it as big pride to have done a film under such a big banner as my role in APT is a long cherished desire. I wish that he produces more of such films.

Who are your friends in the industry?

I have many friends outside the industry but Simbu is very close to me from the film circles. Whenever we find time, we talk and the major portion of our talk would be centering on films. Apart from this I am very close to Thala Ajith.

Ajith is such a caring person without any airs. He is very helpful. He is the first one to wish me after Chennai-28’s release. He appreciated my work and said that I have a place in Tamil cinema. He also suggested me to choose the right kind of films. From then on I am in constant touch with him. Ajith is like my Godfather. I wish our association would stay on for ever.

" I am very close to Thala Ajith "

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