Interviewer : Jyothsna Bhavanishankar & Inian | Camera : Balaji | Text : Jyothsna Bhavanishankar | Coordination : Venkatesh | Video Editor : Jesi
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What strikes you instantly on seeing Jiiva is his much younger, leaner and cleanly shaven college boy looks (engineering to be precise) for Gautham Menon’s Nee Thaane En Pon Vasantham. This talented actor is certainly on a roll and is becoming an important force to be reckoned with in the industry with the multifarious roles, films and directors he associates himself with. His Vandhaan Vendraan is releasing today and Senior Editor Jyothsna Bhavanishankar catches up with him about VV, his projects and of course one MB. Over to Jiiva

What is Vandhaan Vendraan all about?

VV is a travel about beautiful relationships and love. And you also have some action sequences. VV will be a sleek film. There is a beautiful love story, a family sentiment and also a rivalry in VV which would apparently mean the film is a mass entertainer. At a time when it is rare for a film to be certified as U, VV has got a U certificate. We consider this a huge plus for the film.

Vandhaan Vendraan U

certificate is a huge plus for the


The first lead in VV is its story

How is VV going to be different from other films?

I don’t claim that my films or my characters as different. I would only say each of my character is interesting. Like a Ram or E or Ko or Katradhu Thamizh, I look for variety in the roles that I take up. As far as I am concerned, VV is a film with a strong content. Besides me, Taapsee, villain and comedian Santhanam, the first lead in the film is the story.

VV Music

When I first met music director Thaman for this film, it was very energetic. He is a music director for today’s and yesterday’s generation. He has given the best songs which include Anjana Anjana, Kanchanamala, Thiranden and Piriyude. You would find that all the songs are connected. Each song will be of different variety and you will not find the old format of commercial films. Each song would depict a different emotion as there is a beautiful duet, a good travelogue number and a ditty on celebration of success. When I first met Thaman for this film he said, ‘You please don’t give me salary for this film. You first listen to the tracks that I have scored and then decide”. He is such a personality who has immense confidence in his capability. It was a beautiful experience working with Thaman. In tune with Thaman’s music, visuals have also come out very well. I think we have done justice to his music.

You please don’t give me salary

Kannan was like a firecracker

Working with director Kannan

Director Kannan is a balanced personality. He is from Mani Ratnam’s school of film making and working with him has filled in the void that I had of not working in Mani sir’s film. Usually the unit would be very calm but Kannan would be like a firecracker bursting all over mainly to keep the artists cool so that they don’t get stressed. His approach to work was balanced, precise and content oriented. He had clear notion as to how much of an idea or thought should be conveyed and has a subtle approach. When you see his idea visually after editing, it takes on a totally different appealing hue. Kannan’s school of film making was very different to me and it was a great experience to have worked with him.

How was Taapsee to work with?

For Taapsee, VV is a second Tamil film but it would never appear so. I see a lot of interest and enthusiasm in her to learn new things. She has lengthy dialogues in VV and she being a North Indian girl, one would expect some kind of trepidation from her side but she totally floored me when she said that she has learnt the dialogues. I felt good and told her it makes it a lot easier to give the right kind of counter and it also brings the spontaneity out when your co-artist knows the dialogues. In that way Taapsee is a dedicated artist. .

I see a lot of interest and

enthusiasm in Taapsee

Nandha’s role is much better and

more powerful than mine

Nandha in VV

There is no such thing as hero or villain in VV. Nandha’s role has negative shades and he has brought that shade in a very effective fashion. To be very frank, Nandha’s role is better, stronger, more commanding and powerful than mine. Nobody other than Nandha would have suited this role. He is sure to get a good name for his work in VV. We both have been very good friends. I have met him in earlier occasions in different places and we used to share our appreciation for each other’s work. So when we teamed up for a film, we had fun times. Nandha being a Coimbatore person, has a sharp sense of wit and there were times when we had roaring laughter sessions which even prevented us from getting into the shots. He is a very good human being and also a great performer. He is a properly trained actor. The films that he is doing also reveal different facets of his acting prowess. His line up of films is indicative of the fact that he has all the qualifications to be a front runner. I can very proudly say that I have worked with Nandha in VV.


Even while he speaks normally, Santhanam evokes laughter. In VV he has a shop that sells panipuri and he attempts to speak Hindi that is more terrifying. At the sets, Santhanam and I had great fun and did our scenes in a very lighthearted vein. Later I used to wonder if I had really done justice but when I saw those scenes, they had shaped up in an interesting manner. Technicians who were not at the sets, when they saw the film, they were all roaring in laughter. So I kind of knew that the comedy has worked out well. And when I saw the double positive, I was also very happy that it has turned out well. Ours is a good combination and Santhanam surely lights up the proceedings.

Santhanam’s Hindi is terrifying

Comedy has worked much

better in Nanban than 3 Idiots

How has Nanban shaped up?

Nanban has shaped up well. It has more grandeur, better quality. And, as it is Shankar sir’s film, it has his touch all over. We did not want to spoil the essence of the Hindi original. We have filmed in such a way that people who have seen the Hindi original will not say it’s not as good as the Hindi. Comedy has worked much better in Tamil and emotions have been conveyed beautifully. I can confidently say that if this film has been taken by anyone other than Shankar, it would not have come out this well. I can say this as someone who has seen the finished rough version.

Is there an influence of Sharman Joshi in your character portrayal in Nanban?

Our aim was not to disturb the original character even in the minutest way. But I feel the Tamil version will be more entertaining. That’s what I felt when I saw the film as an audience. And the finer emotions involving friendship are well brought out. I am very positive about Nanban. I cannot say there is an influence (of Sharman Joshi). I have portrayed the role in my individual style.

I have portrayed my role in

Nanban in my individual style

Nanban would give you a feel of

having eaten a full course meal

Nanban unit

It’s a great unit with Vijay sir, Sathyaraj sir, Srikanth, Ileana and Anuya, You would get the feel of having eaten a full course meal when you see Nanban. I am the youngest in the unit and Vijay sir is senior to me in age and in experience. It was a lively unit and we all had fun playing pranks on each other. We have all becomes good friends and I know Vijay from my childhood days when he has acted in some of our production ventures when I used to call him Anna. With this film, the bonding between me and Vijay has strengthened. And Srikanth and I have been friends for a long time. In this film, our travel has been more together and as there is no jodi for me and Srikanth, it was boring and since there was no other go, me and Srikanth have become the jodi of Nanban. It was good fun and also we had lots of travel in Nanban. We went to Andamans, Ooty, Coimbatore and Dehradun for the shoot.

Gautham’s Nee Thaane En Pon Vasantham and Mysskin’s Mugamoodi

I have just begun Gautham sir’s Nee Thaane En Pon Vasantham under Rahman sir’s music. I am glad and proud that I have got such a project. Post Ko, more than the star status I am glad that I get opportunities to work under good directors.

In Mysskin’s Mugamoodi, it is a different dimension with a super hero subject. According to me both are different genres. When I heard the story of Mugamoodi and the envisaged treatment, I feel it will bring a different level of film making to the fore. Yes, for NTEPV, I had to lose a lot of weight as I have to sport a college student’s look. For this I had undergo some diet regimens and work out sessions. And I also had to take kungfu lessons for Mugamoodi.

What is the special makeover that Gautham has given you in NTEPV?

What you see in front of you now is the makeover of NTEPV. I don’t think you would have seen me in this kind of look anytime before, perhaps in Dishyum…After Ko and Rowthiram, it sure is a different look. And people have looked at me and asked if I am Jiiva’s younger brother but I don’t have a younger brother. I take this as an appreciation and this itself is the first success of NTEPV. There are three changeovers in NTEPV encompassing 15 years. It is going to be a different trip for me.

There are three changeovers in

Nee Thaane En Pon Vasantham

encompassing 15 years

Presently you seem to be the choice for diverse roles. How did this happen?

As an actor I would like to trip on everything as that’s what an actor’s job is. And I feel lucky as I am in a different shoe every month. It is something very positive as I tend to meet a lot of people, new places and get the taste of new culture. If I do the same kind of films, then I tend to see the same kind of people again and again which is not interesting. It could be a safe trip but I also need to get entertained.

Secondly, why is someone an actor? Only when I trip on various roles, I can bring about variety. I should take on the role of a beggar, a rich man, a college student, an old man, a photographer, an angry young man, an artistic personality, a slum boy and so on. I would like to do all kinds of roles and in this pursuit, I think I am doing a good job.

Social networking is like GPS

You are very active on social networking sites. Comment

Yes, I am very active on the social networking site as I get instant reactions and know the current trends. I am trying to learn about the pros and cons of subjects related to films, audience’s expectations, their likes and dislikes. Social networking is like GPS in terms of finding the right direction. If I am confused about something, I would throw the idea and try to gauge the reaction from my fans and friends. If it is positive, I would take it up and if there is a dull response, I would let it go. Being in a social networking site is good but at the same time, it gets addictive too as I also have a family to attend to. So as far as possible, I try my best to reply to the maximum and update myself.

Your take on your special camaraderie with Arya and Jeyam Ravi

It is not only Arya and Jeyam Ravi but also others like Vishal, Vikranth, Vishnu, Mirchi Siva, and Bharath. Cricket has made all of us closer and Ramana is the one who coordinates between all of us. We also get together and play in the nets. It is a very healthy trend. We all try to meet every weekend and catch up. Recently it was Vishal’s birthday and we all gave a surprise party. It is not only actors; I also bond well with actresses like Sangeetha, and Krish. We are all good friends.

On your recent enterprise 1 MB?

Yes, I started a chaat restaurant called One MB as I wanted to trip on food joints. Again it is very connected to the audience. I have started this along with my friend Ajay, his wife and my wife Supriya. It is a very creative business. My wife is from Delhi and when I go there, I used to eat food from road side joints which I cannot do it here. So I thought why not I bring all those food items here. And I am getting good response also.

Your project with Arya under Rajesh’s direction

It is still in the stage of talks. Rajesh is also busy with OKOK and Karthi’s next project. Of course, he is doing a film with me next year. I am also starting my production company, although I am yet to finalize a name. As of now, Arya and I will be producing Rajesh’s film and we may also star in the film. Nothing has been finalized now. Talks are on and let’s see how things go.

Tags : Jiiva, Vandhaan Vendraan, Taapsee, Kannan, Nandha
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