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`Each medium has its own USP'

How did you get the prefix `Crazy'? - Vijay Adhiraj

Pic: R. Ragu

Exactly at the appointed time, television actor Vijay Adhiraj walked into the house of writer-director-actor `Crazy' Mohan, a smile writ large on his face as he handed over a small packet to Mohan's wife. "My mother sent some avakkai for Mohan sir. She remembered that he loves pickles." Mohan's gracious wife thanked him profusely, just as Mohan joined the conversation. Thrilled that he could have avakkai with his next meal, he thanked Vijay's mother, who's a family friend.

That set the mood for a Take Two between Mohan and "Nimmadhi Ungal Choice" co-star Vijay.

Savitha Gautam recorded the tête-à-tête.

Vijay: So, how's "Vasoolraja M.B.B.S." coming along, sir?

Mohan: "Oh! Fine. We hope to finish by August. Actually, I have had a hectic schedule, writing, acting... . I play the Parsi doctor's role. There's a scene where I have to cry. And I believe there's nothing serious in life, except taxes and death! So imagine my plight... .

Vijay: (laughs) Oh! That's a lovely role. In fact, when I watched `Munnabhai... ' I felt it was ideal material for a Tamil film. And believe it or not, the classic combination of `Crazy' Mohan and Kamal Hassan immediately came to my mind. So, what about your next drama?

Mohan: Oh! It's coming along nicely. In fact, we are staging our plays in the Middle East. Then we are off to the U.S. in September for three months to round off the 25th anniversary celebrations of Crazy Creations.

Vijay: I still remember the first time I met you. It was at the AVM Studios for "Nimmadhi Ungal Choice."

Mohan: I remember it too. I was given a serious role. I recollect going up to Muthuraman sir and asking him why I had such a serious role. He said, `You give it a comic touch. I'll take it seriously'! (both laugh)

Vijay: That serial was truly a launch-pad. I got a lot of recognition after that.

Mohan: Honestly, I am not so comfortable with a serious role. But you are. In fact, I call you Sun, Jaya, Raj, Vijay Adhiraj! Tune in to any channel and there you are, in some serial or talk show.

Vijay: (a little embarrassed) It's just that we get to play varied characters on television.

Mohan: True. I feel it's a happy compromise between cinema and stage. You can tell a good story with apt dialogue and also present something that's visually appealing. TV is surely a powerful medium, which can improve by leaps and bounds if there's enough financial support. Just like Hindi television...

Vijay: After Hindi, I think the Tamil TV industry is really popular, especially when it comes to comedy.

Mohan: Vijay, you should do a full-fledged comic role.

Vijay: I have attempted comedy in the new serial "Manaivi." I'd love to do a full-length comedy, but you'll have to write the story and dialogue, sir.

Mohan: I do have a project in mind for you. When it finally takes shape, I'll inform you.

Vijay: I have always wanted to ask you this. How did you get the prefix `Crazy'?

Mohan: (shrugs his shoulders and shakes his head): I feel bad nobody asks me how I got the name Mohan! (everybody is in splits). Okay, that's what my father named me! As for `Crazy', it's thanks to my first play, "Crazy Thieves in Palavakkam." It was a sensational hit. At that time, I signed only as Mohan. Later, I wrote several short stories for Ananda Vikatan.

I submitted my first story under the name, Mohan. To my surprise, it was printed as `Crazy' Mohan. And the prefix stuck. Not just to my name, but also to those of my entire troupe. And now, everybody calls me `Crazy Sir!'

(Then the conversation veers towards their families as Mohan knows Vijay's father well)

Mohan: So, I heard that you are shifting house.

Vijay: Yes. We are moving to a bigger space in T. Nagar, as we are a joint family.

Mohan: I think family plays an important role in an artiste's success. And in times of crisis, they are a boon.

Vijay: True, sir. Thanks to my family I have been able achieve so much. In fact, family has always played a vital role in my life.

It taught me to share. I remember going to my grandfather's village for holidays and having a whale of a time with my 34 cousins! Sir, stage, cinema and television... how do you strike a balance?

Mohan: Well, it is quite taxing at times. But each medium has its USP. Though there is instant satisfaction on stage, television has a wider appeal and cinema, the large screen effect. (laughs) Tell me Vijay, from business management and teaching to television, what has it been like?

Vijay: To tell you the truth, I really enjoy teaching. But I am not able to devote the time required for it.

Maybe someday, I will pursue it seriously.

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