Interviewer : Jyothsna Bhavanishankar & Inian | Camera : Xavier | Text : Jyothsna Bhavanishankar | Video Editor : Jesi
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Lyricist Snehan wears many hats. After a noticeable performance in Ameer’s Yogi, he turns a full fledged hero in Premnath’s Uyarthiru 420 with Meghna Raj to give him company. An ardent follower of Chief Minister Jayalalitha, Snehan talks about Uyarthiru 420, his motivational workshops and his political aspirations to Senior Editor Jyothsna Bhavanishankar and Inian.

You need to act in real life to act

in reel life

How was it to play the role of a hero in Uyarthiru 420?

It is just a character in the film and I should thank the director for choosing me for this particular role. What is new in this experience of mine is the arrogance or the air of superiority I feel whenever I pen lyrics that people listen to my lines, simply vanished. When I donned the role of a hero, I realized how difficult it was. It was akin to a single engine pulling an entire train; the whole crew was working hard behind me and this made me more responsible to deliver right. The right guidance of course was given by director Premnath. I would also like to say that one must know to act in real life at least to a small extent to act in reel life because it was difficult to get updated about little things. While Yogi taught me the fascinating facets of cinema, UT 420 taught me the responsibilities and burden of a hero.

What is your role in Uyarthiru 420?

From the title, you would have understood my character but he is not as bad as you would think and he is not someone who troubles people. We are all 420s and there is no one ‘clean’ here. If you want to appreciate someone but don’t do it, it is also a kind of thievery. Some 420s need to be penalized; some need patting; some others can be enjoyed and while some 420s are

Some 420s are enviable

enviable. My character in UT 420 would be one such. It is not wrong to be born as poor but it is not right to die poor and this is the content of the film and what the hero does to achieve this, what kind of path he chooses, the style that he adopts and where does all this culminate is the film all about. When I heard about the role, I was indeed apprehensive to play this role because I am not anything like this in my real life and was worried how it would turn out. But when I travelled along with the character I realized that there is also a good man within the 420 and that’s why we have given the suffix ‘Uyarthiru’ (honorable) and that’s what is my character.

Did you dance in Uyarthiru 420?

As regards this film, the scope to dance is less and my director has strictly told me not to dance. There were small movements in the duet sequence but it would not appear as dance but small strides. Dance was not needed for this character in this film.

I refused body double

What about stunts in Uyarthiru 420?

I should definitely talk about the stunts in UT 420. There are two fights and a car chase sequence and my special thanks to Pandian master. I learnt the tricks quite quickly and they were all surprised by my fast grasp. There were suggestions to use body double but I refused. I had taken risks to act out in these scenes and there was also a small mishap and a day’s shooting was cancelled due to this.

A scene had required me to jump over a car and I had done that and I am sure it would receive claps. We shot the car chasing sequence in Bangalore using 30 cars. You may not have seen such a car chase sequence in the recent times. Usually in such sequence, masters would drive the car instead of the hero but in UT 420 I chose to drive because I love driving. I would like to extend my thanks to fight master for my performance in the action sequences.

Heroine(s) in Uyarthiru 420?

There are three heroines in UT 420 but my heroine is Meghna Raj. She is an established heroine and has acted in Telugu and Malayalam movies. Initially I was apprehensive to act with a well known heroine. In the first schedule I was even trembling with anxiety and when there was an intimate scene, I was sweating in fear and asked the director to postpone the scene to the next schedule. But once when Meghna started moving with me, she was like the ‘girl next door’ and today she is my best friend. She taught me the nitty gritty details about film industry. Meghna was the one who encouraged and gave me confidence to perform. She is such a flexible heroine. I should be thankful to get a heroine like Meghna Raj in my very first movie. Thanks Meghna!

My heroine is Meghna Raj

I am a big hero in real life

Director Premnath

Director Premnath took care of me like how he would take care of a child for the past five years because he is a greatest fan of my lyrics. Once he suggested that I can play the role of a hero in cinema when I am a big hero in real life. I did not take his comments seriously but followed all the directions that he gave me like growing my hair, learning stunts etc. He kept saying that I am the real hero and if he does a film, it will only be with me. I should thank him for that. He is someone who has worked with Bharathi Raja.

It needs some gumption to have Snehan as hero. I am not sure if I have satisfied his expectations. Only Premnath should answer this. As far as I am concerned, I have given my best. Premnath’s approach was very clear and it is his guidance that has taken me through. I should also thank the cameramen for not only showing me presentable but also the entire cast. Although we have shot in old locales, the frames would appear very new and refreshing. Premnath may work with many heroes in his films or I may act with many directors but our relationship is like a father-son relationship which is beyond films and it was like that in the past, present and will continue for ever.

Have you penned lyrics for Uyarthiru 420?

I did not want to write lyrics in my 1st film as it does not sound good to write lyrics for myself and then sing and dance for the same. I wanted to introduce new talents but my producer was not for it. I like Vaali sir a lot and when I approached him, he immediately obliged and wrote the first song for me. Arivumadhi, who is the ‘Anbu Annan’ of all lyricists, has penned a song. Dr Krithaya who is struggling to get a foothold in the industry has written a song. I could not get a song from Vairamuthu and have written a song. I am confident that all the songs have turned up in line with the script.

I could not get a song from


But for Ameer, I would not have

taken such a big risk

How did your experience with Ameer help in Uyarthiru 420?

Ameer’s school has definitely helped me a great deal because that’s where I got over my fear of camera and he is the one who taught me how to speak, how to walk and the ratio of it. Ameer is a perfectionist to such an extent that in his sets when you cut hair, it would be done with a ruler to measure. And this has helped me a great deal in UT 420 and has given me confidence. But for Ameer, I would not have taken such a big risk.

Is this film inspired from the Hindi Shri 420?

No, it is not like that. When we were searching for an apt title, we just stumbled upon this and later realized the similarity with the old Hindi blockbuster. But there is no similarity between Shri 420 and UT 420. In fact, there are very few adventure films in Tamil and in that sense this is an action adventure film. You will get the feel of a mini James Bond film in UT 420. I am not saying this because I have acted in it but people, who have seen it, feel that way.

UT 420 will be like a mini

James Bond film

Have you signed any new project?

I am flooded with offers but I don’t want this to affect my writing poetries. I will sign only after gauging the response for UT 420 but my director and I have plans to work together. He wanted to do a film with me as hero called Achcham Thavir in 12 crores but I dissuaded him from doing it and suggested to go slow. We may do it after UT 420. Many assistant directors have told me stories and I am surprised about the faith vested on me. If this film satisfies that faith, I will continue to act.

I am the only lyricist who has

given motivational speech in

more than 3000 colleges

On your motivation CD

We have given a motivation CD along with the audio CD of UT 420. People who are close to me are well aware my work. And that’s why I don’t speak about this to media. I am a social activist and am educating many children. I am also running self confidence workshops ‘Dynamic Self Awakening’ all over the country. I am the only lyricist who has given motivational speech in more than 3000 colleges. It was suggested that I give out speech to accompany the audio CD but as I already had such material, I chose one and today this is being spoken about more.

Vaali was impressed with it and said this gives confidence to even people who are knocking death. The CD ‘Sei, Thaamadam Seyyadhe’ will appeal to all. Please listen to it as every man needs some kind of encouragement at some level through words which are there in the CD. I have been getting congratulatory messages ever since it was released. If a small portion of my speech could evoke such a positive response, it has made me think why not I bring out all my CDs. It is the responsibility of some one who is growing to render the positive guidance to the next generation to grow and develop. That’s what I have done through this CD.

I always remain Amma

Jayalalitha’s pet son

Did you meet CM Jayalalitha?

She has crossed many hurdles and has come to power with a tremendous mandate; her approach has changed, her outlook has changed and so has her actions. I always remain Amma Jayalalitha’s pet son and there is no change in it. I always like M G R and after him, it is only Amma. That’s how I have always been. Whatever be the scenario, I have not shifted loyalties and I am proud of that. I am yet to meet her after this election. She has said that she is busy and I respect that and don’t want to disturb her. Let my film get released and I will surely meet her. After all I am going to meet my Amma and I will do it at the right time.

Are your workshops and seminars a prelude to your entry into politics?

No, this movement has nothing to do with politics and this is about salvaging humanity from humans. If the time is ripe, my entry into politics may happen but not now. People associated with my training movement are all educated and are all scholars. This training has to be done by government which we are doing. The very reason for this to continue despite varied feedbacks is the huge response I get.

I will join politics

If I had used all that fame and name just for myself, I alone would have prospered but I want the opportunity that I got, to reach this generation and that’s the reason I undertake the training programs and there are around 10,00 families which are happy because of me. Hence this is not about politics but a progressive thinking for good living.

Anna Hazare, please don’t give


On the recent protests against corruption by Anna Hazare

There would be some revolutionary in every time period. It is not necessary that a revolutionary should take to weapons but with Ahimsa also one can bring about change like Gandhiji. My appreciation to Anna Hazare! A corrupt fee government is what people ask for. But what I would like to say to Anna Hazare is not to politicize this movement and not to give up his principles and ethics on any account. We youth will always be with you!

Tags : Lyricist Snehan, Meghna Raj, Uyarthiru 420, Jayalalitha, Ameer
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