Shiva
Interviewer : Jyothsna Bhavanishankar | Camera : Balaji | Coordination : Venkatesh | Text : Jyothsna Bhavanishankar
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AKILA ULAGA SUPER STAR SHIVA INTERVIEW
If it is anybody’s sheer presence that has the energy to lift up one’s spirits, it has to be only Shiva. Even simple phrases from him take a funny hue and evoke a smile. Having made the audience laugh incessantly with Tamizh Padam, this Akila Ulaga Super Star is ready with his next film Va-Quarter Cutting. Presenting to you Shiva in a no-holds-barred conversation with Senior Editor Jyothsna Bhavanishankar.


How did Va- Quarter Cutting happen?

When I was doing Tamizh Padam, Sashikanth of ‘Y Not’ studios approached me with Quarter Cutting script. I read and liked it and gave my assent. He approached Durai Dayanidhi and Vivek Ratnavelu of Cloud Nine and decided to make the film under their banner. Pushkar and Gayatri are the directors of Va-QC. The film is ready for release.

On the title Quarter Cutting?

Please don’t misjudge the film by the title. This is a family entertainer and has many messages. I would like to say lots of such things but the story line does not warrant such interpretation.


Please don’t misjudge the film by

the title




Pushkar and Gayatri were

working like ghosts

How was it working with Pushkar-Gayatri?

It was truly a good experience to have worked with Pushkar and Gayatri as they are passionate film makers. During the shoot, they never gave proper breaks. I would be dreaming to have my food at 9 PM and they would come and say, ‘machi, today no break, please eat your food fast’. I have worked in many films and break times are something to look forward to. But here, they would never announce breaks and to top it
all, the shooting was from 6 PM to 6 AM. The entire biorhythm was changed but Pushkar and Gayatri were working like ghosts because they were so involved in the film. I think they are technically talented and know all the shots. Even the selection of technicians for Va-QC is perfect, for instance cinematographer Nirav Shah, who is the best in the industry. Nirav may appear serious but is extremely a jolly fellow. In Tamizh Padam, when I danced, the camera also danced mildly because Nirav was laughing. He has helped me a lot especially in dialogues. In Va-QC also he has given valuable inputs.

Besides Nirav, Editor Anthony, music director GV Prakashkumar and Art Director Santhanam have all worked hard and we have tried something different, thanks to Pushkar-Gayatri and Sashikant.

On your chemistry with Lekha Washington

Between me and Lekha, there is no Chemistry or Math. Lekha is such a dumb student who has failed five times (in the film) and would run away at the mention of Chemistry. She has only worn school dress in the entire film and the saddest part is her parents are teachers.

Chemistry between you and Charan?

I have worked with Charan from Chennai-28. He is my close buddy and whether the shooting is there or not, whether the camera is on or off, we will be the same. This is our chemistry.

Your screen name in Va-Qc is Sura. Are you spoofing Vijay?

This is not a spoof film. My name is Sundarrajan, shortened to Sura. That’s about it. I am a Vijay fan in the film. “This is a complete family entertainer which has many messages in the film and this is a philosophical movie”. I would like to say all these things! When you see the film, you will understand.

You have penned a song in Va-QC. Are you gearing to compete with Vaali or Vairamuthu?

One day, as usual, I was sleeping and there were continuous calls from Pushkar. He told me he has to shoot a song in Saudi Arabia and since the lyricist wants four days time, wanted me to write the lyrics. Writing poetry is a trivial matter for me as I have written more than hundred songs but all in radio. If they don’t like my songs and are angry with me, the maximum they would do is to switch off the radio and go on. But here, if they know I have written the lyrics, the effects would be devastating.


Writing poetry is a trivial matter


Anyway, I went to Pushkar’s house. We discussed as though it was a huge challenge but completed the work in 2 hours which was converted into a song the same night by GV Prakash, who raved about it saying it was very fresh! Thanks to GV for this! The situation was Sura is dreaming that Saudi Baasha is giving him the responsibility to take care of Saudi. So I just put in all that I knew- Saithan ke bachcha, Sultan ki beti, podu nee metti. Everyone seems to like this which is very important. What I want to say from all this is that for all those who like this song, I will do a special pujai in the kovil.



I am also thankful to editor

Anthony for making me dance

On your dancing skills which are much spoken about?

In one song, there were many Russian belly dancers and I enquired if I too should dance. And I understood there is no escaping from it. I normally develop fever when I have to dance. I don’t know if I have danced very hard but I was a bit anxious. Unnai Kan Thedude song (in Va-QC) is choreographed by Kalyan master. We have a special understanding; he is there with me from Saroja saaman nikalo in Chennai-28 to pachai manja sevappu thamizhan in Tamizh Padam. He has created a dance with whatever I can do and more than this. I am also thankful to editor Anthony for making me dance.

Did you expect such a huge fan base?

Fan base? I am so happy to hear that. I never expected this and I never calculated all this. I enjoy what I am doing and if the audience also enjoys what I’m doing, then I am happy. I make sure they enjoy the maximum.

Do you think people would accept if you acted seriously?

I don’t know. People laugh even if I am doing something serious, not now but even earlier than this. In Saroja, the shot where I will run and cry that Charan is going to get killed received applause at the sets. It was shot at Binny Mills at 5 in the morning. But to my shock, the audiences were laughing for this scene in theatres. I don’t understand, here I am crying and acting but everyone is laughing. It was much opposed to the situation. But what can I do?

What I cannot forget is the scene in Chennai-28 where I will fall at Nithin Sathya’s feet and cry. Everyone appreciated it. On the 100th day celebrations of the film, Kamal sir was giving the award to actors and Rajni sir to technicians. Kamal sir had congratulated me after he saw the film in Four Frames. He may have forgotten it but I cannot. And hence I think I can do serious stuff too.

Amudan team or Venkat Prabu team. Which is the best?

Of course team work is important but more than the team, the script is important. When Chennai 28 was released, it was fresh and new at that time; next Saroja which also did well. Tamizh Padam was a different genre and received good feedback. Now, Pushkar-Gayatri’s Quarter Cutting. Fresh attempt is the common factor in all these films. That’s why these films are appealing. I always say that whenever we try something new, it will be appreciated by Tamil people. We have that pride. I did not say this but many accomplished people have said this. And in Va-Qc also, we have tried something new. Hopefully it will be appreciated. And if it does well, it will pave way for such efforts.

The title Akila Ulaga Super Star

“Titles come on its own; I don’t go in search of it”, I would like to say. Anyway, this was the title I got in Tamizh Padam. It is just for fun and should not be taken seriously.

When you spoof your favorite actor, how do you feel?

I think you are asking about Tamizh Padam. When I began the film, I was very serious I am not going to hurt anyone through this film and decided I will make fun of myself. It is not an easy task to dance bharathnatyam in front of a big crowd especially when you don’t know to dance. But I did a hideous job without an iota of shame to the shock of everyone. So I make sure that people laugh at me which is an easy humor. Charlie Chaplin has said that a good comedian is one who can make fun of himself. In the Hindi Robot audio launch, super star has spoken with such humility which is very difficult to do. Super star is totally devoid of ego.


Super star is totally devoid of

ego

Any project that you have signed now?

I am listening to a lot of scripts and don’t want to rush. For the last couple of months, folks at home are giving me some kind of respect and food. It is fun to stay at home, sleep and watch TV and I am enjoying my time. I will decide soon.



Director is always the hero

You have once said you will direct films. Do you still feel the same way?

Yes. I like direction. You will realize what you are capable of only when you direct. When you are acting, there could be a few things that you would want to change. If the director is in sync with your thoughts, it is fine, otherwise, it is difficult. You can execute your ideas only when you are a director. Director is always the hero. As an actor, you go in the morning for your shot but will have to wait till the afternoon. You need to be idle till such time. But director is not like that. He will have work throughout the day. At least for this, I would like to be a director.

What happened to the film 16?

16 was a film to be directed by S T Sabha with Yuvan Shankar’s music under the banner of Bashyam Movie Makers. This project came after Chennai-28. It is not a comedy or a spoof but based on love. Of course, we have conveyed all aspects of love in our films. I liked this story when Sabha sir narrated to me. In our life, most of us may have met that someone special early in our life and would have decided that they would be our life partners. But only 0.5% of people settle down with such mates. For the rest, it would be someone else. This is what the main theme of 16 is. The film is completed and it will hit the screens soon.

Your association with Vidya Sagar?

It is a shock to hear this question as this is something very personal to me. But I have learnt so much about life only in Vidya Sagar, a school for holistic development of children and adults with special needs. In life, till a point you achieve something, we need to be patient and listen to the advice of many people. After my 10th, I used to go to many companies, give my portfolio and go to Vidya Sagar to teach. People wondered, what someone who has not even completed 10th standard can teach. As Vidya Sagar is a special school, I was basically singing, telling stories and entertaining the inmates. I thought I was going to teach them but on the contrary, it was I who learnt from these children. In reality, our life is a big bore but their life is cheerful. They are very happy and I realized this. I joined as RJ in 2003 and from RJ to Chennai-28 to Va-QC, I have got everything from the contacts I developed there.

Radio or cinema?

It is not a choice between Andhra meals or biriyani. At the end of the day, it is food. That’s what is important and we have to enjoy our food. I always say I am a joker in a circus. If radio is Gemini circus then cinema is Bombay circus. Cinema is a large medium but radio is magic. It takes more than 6 months to can a film, release it and make the audience laugh. Radio is not like that; when you want to make someone enjoy life or make them laugh, all that I do is go to the radio station, take the mike, switch it on and do a live show. I learnt all this, only after 2003 when I started doing radio shows and receiving feedback from varied audiences. I realized that radio is a powerful medium. Radio is my favorite and movie is also part of the family. Now it is movie, then it will be radio and so on but whatever it is I am always the joker in the circus.


It is not a choice between

Andhra meals or biriyani

Va-QC message

Through Va-QC, we just want to say this. Patience is very important in life and if you are patient, you can get many things.

Tags : Shiva, Va-Quarter Cutting, Tamizh Padam, Saroja, Akila Ulaga Super Star, Chennai 28
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