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For Vijayakumar, work is always worship

S.R. Ashok Kumar

"When you play a character role, irrespective of whether the film flops or succeeds people will remember your acting. That is the best compliment for any actor"



Vijayakumar

Vijayakumar started off as a child artist, grew into a hero and is now a busy star doing character actor roles. Having acted in some of the best Tamil movies, Vijayakumar missed a national award by one vote for his role in "Andhi Mantharai." Here he talks about his experiences.

I am hardworking as work, for me, is worship.

Who would believe that I did the role of Lord Muruga in "Sri Valli" that featured Sivaji Ganesan and Padmini, in 1961-62. I started as a child artist and later on became a full-fledged stage actor.

I joined Sahasranamam's Seva Stage. When actor Muthuraman left Seva Stage to act in films, I took up his roles . Those days, becoming a film artist was not easy. Compared to the struggle then, it is now very easy.

After watching a film at Shanthi Theatre, Chennai, I saw writer Balamurugan at the bus stop. He asked me to meet him at Arun Prasad Movies the next day. I was asked to come for a screen test the very next day. I did lengthy dialogues of Sivaji from "Raman Ethanai Ramanadi." Director Madhavan, Balamurugan and cameraman Sundaram told me that I had been selected to do the main role in their coming film "Ponnukku Thangam Manasu." This happened in 1973.

I have till now acted in nearly 400 films and those I like most are: "Ponnukku Thanga Manasu" (director Madhavan) "Madura Geetham" (V.C. Guhanathan), "Azhage Unnai Aradhikkerain" (Sridhar). In character roles my choices are: "Agni Nakshathiram" (Mani Ratnam), the first film in which I acted as father of two top heroes of Tamil filmdom: Karthik and Prabhu, "Kizhakku Chemaiyile" (Bharathiraja), "Velai Kidachirukku" (P. Vasu) and "Anthi Mantharai" (Bharathiraja).

When shooting for "Anthi Mantharai," director Bharathiraja said I would certainly get the coveted national award for best actor. Later, news came that I had missed the award by a vote. I also like the film "Nattamai" directed by Ravikumar. After the release of the film, Rajnikant saw it and when it was remade in Telugu he did my role. I was very happy to hear it.

I was happy as a hero. But I am happier doing character roles. When you play a character role, irrespective of whether the film flops or succeeds people will remember your acting. That is the best compliment for any actor.

Still, I do not think I have achieved anything in life. Acting is my bread and butter and I do not know anything else.

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