Interviewer : Inian | Text : Jyothsna
Karan who made an impressive debut in Nammavar has come a long way. After a brief sabbatical, he made a re-entry into filmdom as hero in Kokki from where his journey is progressing at a steady pace. Karan in conversation with

Your turning points in the film industry

Karan: I consider two things in my life to be turning points. The entry that Kamal sir gave me in Nammavar. He called it as ‘Periya Pravesam’ which is absolutely true. No one could have got a better entry. I think I am the first person to have gotten the opportunity and luck. With just one day after the release of the film, I received the recognition that one gets after doing ten films. Nammavar gave me a lot of confidence. I have done close to 68 films after Nammavar. The second turning point is my re-entry into films as hero in Kokki which was a sensational movie. People had not expected to see such a film in those days and the film was well appreciated. After Kokki I did Karuppusamy Kuthagaidaarar, Thee Nagar, Kaathavaraayan and Malayan which received appreciations from different types of people.

What are your current projects?

I am now doing Kanagavel Kaakka which will be released soon. This will be followed by Kanda and Thambi Vettothi Sundaram.

Your film titles are a bit different. Is it deliberate?

When people hear the names of my films the first thing they ask is ‘Where do you pick such titles?’ But I feel when the story and plot are different, everything about the film will be different.

About Kanagavel Kaakka

Kanagavel Kaakka is such a relevant title. The name of hero is Kanagavel. Now I think you will be able to get the feel of the content. The character of the hero is portrayed in a very powerful manner. I would like to discuss the characterization of the film but cannot do it till the release of the film as per the requests of the producer and director. You may have met such a character in your life but I feel such a person has not been portrayed in films till now. In that fashion, Kanagavel will be unique.

About the cast of Kanagavel Kaakka

Haripriya, a famous heroine from Sandalwood is being introduced as my on screen pair. Kota Sreenivasa Rao who acted with me in Kokki will also feature in this film. I don’t have to talk about him; he has proved himself in Saami and many other films. Sampath is a lawyer in the film and I am sure this film will render a different color to him. He has done a superb job. Then there is Adithya as a police officer.

Director Kavin Bala

I see director Kavin Bala’s brilliance in Kanagavel Kaakka. I am very confident that he will turn into a fantastic director. You will realize my word when you see the film. When a right story and scenario along with perfect casting happens, 75% of the work is completed. Director Kavin Bala has chosen the right technicians.

Music director Vijay Antony

There is extraordinary music scored by Vijay Antony in Kanagavel Kaakka and he is a strong pillar to this film. Re-recording tracks will speak a lot about his intelligence. He has done many light hearted films but this film will be very different from his earlier works. Vijay Antony is the latest music sensation.

" Vijay Antony is the

latest music sensation "

About lyrics

Lyrics are written by Snehan which have turned out very well. Nellai Jeyantha has also written lyrics. Vijay Antony has also written a song ‘minsarame minsarame’.

How has Kanagavel Kaakka shaped up?

As actors we were all waiting to go to the sets every day. All things that are required for a successful film have been happening to Kanagavel Kaakka right from the beginning and there is huge expectation for this film. People who have watched it at post production stage have appreciated it. But I am like a student who is awaiting results after writing his exams. We are giving the film to people who will give our verdict. I am waiting for the results and at the same time I trust that people would come to me and say, “Karan, we did not expect such a film from you.” I am waiting to hear those words.

About your fan following?

" Fans are only

incoming and

not outgoing "

Recently a journalist friend approached me and said that now that I have become a hero, I would have earned much on the financial front. I seconded his thoughts and said, “I have earned much but not money but only fans. When I earn money, it gets spent. But fans are not like that. Fans are only incoming and not outgoing”. This is a heartfelt truth which I have said in many interviews. In film industry, many people would have become hero with diverse ideas and perspectives. But I always believe that when we give good products, fans will never let us down. This belief only drives me forward and I became a hero relying on this fact.

About Kanda

Kanda will hit the screens after Kanagavel Kaakka and Kanda is being produced for VP films by Kalpana Palanivel. He is a very good producer who has given many successful films. Babu K Viswanath is the debut director.

You work mostly with newcomers. Any specific reason?

Till now, I have done many films for first time directors. People have asked me why I only work with new directors. But they are the ones who approach me with scripts. What I look for is a simple and clear plot with some aspect being different and fresh. Most of the new directors have toiled in the industry for 12-13 years and have acquired much knowledge and experience. Hence they would want to use all that they have learnt in the first film and would be keen to prove themselves. In Tamil film industry, best films are rendered by debut directors. When such directors come with so much of zeal and potential, there is nothing wrong in joining hands and working with them.

" In Tamil film industry,

best films are rendered

by debut directors "

What are the advantages of working with first timers?

Working is much easier and the atmosphere is friendly. It is a refreshing experience for me. They look at me in a completely different angle which I myself have not thought about. Director Kavin Bala is also a newcomer who has worked with Saran and Hari and has gained valuable experience. He is also a poet. Of course I also would like to work under established directors and some of them have even been discussing things with me. When the right opportunity knocks, I would like to do it in the right manner. I am sure God will give me such an opportunity too.

About the cast?

Mithra from Kerala is my heroine in Kanda. Rajesh features in a key role.

What is Kanda all about?

The film is about a school teacher and his student. In the earlier generation students used to go to school by walk for many miles or cross the river and through many such difficult modes. In the present days, I am not sure if some kind of personal relationship exists between students and teachers. Nevertheless, for a student, there will be at least one teacher who will be close to his/her heart. This holds good for all. There was such a teacher in Kanda’s life. That’s what the story is all about. The relationship between Kanda and the teacher forms the crux of the storyline. The film talks about what the teacher did to Kanda and what he did to the teacher in return when he grew up. The plot occurred very new to me and I am quite satisfied with it. Rajesh is the teacher who has all the qualities to be a good teacher. He is also a good actor. It will be a good film for him.

Who is the director of Kanda?

Babu K Viswanath. He has written many stories. When he narrated the story to me, he did it quite briskly. We can decide on some stories instantly and some others make you think because you wonder whether the story would be suitable for you. But I decided on Kanda immediately. I felt the spark inside me.

Thambi Vettothi Sundaram

When the film was announced, my cell phone did not stop ringing. I was constantly being called to find out about the title. This story is about events that happen in Marthandam, Thakkalai in Kanyakumari district. Hero’s name is Sundaram and he is from Vettothipuram which is the name of a town in Kumari district. The usual practice is to add thambi to the names and that’s how the name Thambi Vettothi Sundaram was born.

What is TVS about?

It is the true story of Vettothi Sundaram and I play the title role. This is the first true story that I am doing. The events that happened in Vettothi Sundaram's life have been chronicled. A few cinematic liberties have been added.

Who is the director in TVS?

" He impresses me in

every thing "

Vadivudayan is the director. I don’t intend talking about him now because everyone will be doing that once the film is released. A brilliant director! Though this is his 2nd film, he is like a newcomer. He impresses me in every thing.

How do you feel about your current films?

I am involved in three films now (Kangavel Kaakka, Kanda and Thambi Vettothi Sundaram) and I am extremely satisfied and confident about them. My energy levels are peeking and I am happy that I am on the right track.

Have you signed any new projects?

After these films, I am yet to decide my course. Once I decide, I would definitely share with my fans about the details of my projects. I was not acting for three years and my fans know about that also. When Kokki was released, they appreciated my work. I generally like to share about what I do with people.

Why there is a long interval between your films?

Every film that we work, it has been done with the hope that it would be liked by the audience. The recent five films of mine were different from each other. This was indicated to me by my fan cum friend from abroad who saw my films. He was the one who told me that I give a long interval between my films. But I alone cannot take the onus for this. Film making is a difficult task which involves many people. My agenda in 2010 is to release a film once in three months. Earlier, I was involved in only one film at a time. Now I am planning to work in two films simultaneously. Of course, it would be a strain. But it is fine with me. This is my way of ensuring that there is no big gap between successive films. I also feel that quality is more important than quantity. I am trying to combine the two and render good results.

" My agenda in 2010 is

to release a film

once in three months "

Your transformation from villain to hero

" I have not killed or raped "

I have not done villain roles in many mainstream films. I have never acted as a villain with typical cinematic characteristic traits. I have done roles in villain’s moods. I have not killed or raped which are quite difficult for me. I will see to it that there is some semblance of reality when it comes to portraying me as villain. I don’t believe in glorifying negativity. But in Nammavar, it is the life of a

student and the film gave me a huge identity. My character would have been justified in the film and it was not projected as a villain. But the films that I did as villain had a better reach. By God's grace, I have done a variety of roles in films like Gokulathil Seethai, Kaadal Kottai, Kannedire Thondrinal, Kaalamellam Kaadal Vaazhga which helped me get a place in the audience's heart that paved way for me to act as hero.

The long gap before Kokki?

I had created the gap of few years just before Kokki happened. I wanted some time before transforming from villain to hero. I needed breathing time. I was working in 16-17 films a year in many languages and used to continuously shoot, sometimes even skipping my food. I only wanted to stand in front of the camera.

" I missed 47 films in

the two and a half year gap "

That’s all. Nothing else crossed my mind. This took a toll on my health. That's when I decided to take a break and re-worked on my entire persona after which I did Kokki. When I looked at myself on screen in Kokki, I was surprised. I missed 47 films in the two and a half year gap. My friends in the industry were very angry with me for this. At some point in life, everybody would be forced to decide for themselves and I did the same. But it was a good decision. I take things as it comes and I have immense faith in God. I am certain that God will guide me in the right direction.

The variety in your scripts?

People wonder how I get such a variety of scripts. The scripts come in search of me. And I choose the ones which would suit me. When I choose a script, I see to it that there is some difference from my earlier film. I don’t want things to be repeated. Of course there are some constants which cannot be avoided in mainstream films. There should be some larger than life images and scenes in films. Then only audience will accept the film. If there is 60%-70% translation of the story narrated to the visual medium, I consider it as good.

Do you take any help in choosing your scripts?

I choose my script. I don’t believe in handling this responsibility to anyone. Once I accept a role, perhaps, I can seek suggestion to improvise the character but not before that.

" I am called the

minimum guarantee hero "

What is Karan’s place in the industry?

People ask me what is my place in the industry. I stay in the heart of my fans which I value a lot. I want to retain this place and that is very important to me. I am called the minimum guarantee hero. I am happy to hear it.

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