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Style and substance

S. R. ASHOK KUMAR.

With the Filmfare award under his belt, actor Surya is brimming with confidence.


Surya has come a long way from "Naerukku Naer." If "Khakka Khakka" was a turning point, ``Pithamagan" revealed an entirely different dimension in his talent. ``Paerazhagan" was yet another milestone fetching him the Filmfare award for best actor recently. Surya is upbeat when one catches up with him busy with ``Gajini" soon to be released. Excerpts from an interview:

Has movies changed your personality in any way?

Yes. First, I became an extrovert. And I have become more confident and act these days with a sense of responsibility.

Can we expect something special in "Gajini"?

I was totally fascinated with the work of director Murugadas after watching his film "Ramana." The tight script impressed me. He wrote another and that was "Gajini." The hero is not me, but the script. It is a single hero subject but I have played two different characters in it.

But is it true that you were not the first choice?

Well, that has been happening right from my first film "Naeruku Naer." The same with ``Friends" and ``Nanda." But I'm happy. No complaints.

"Friends" was a two-hero subject. Will you accept something like that now?

I was happy to do "Friends", "Pithamagan" and "Ayudha Ezhuthu." And these roles got me acclaim. Given a good script and a nice director I may still do a role like that. But right now I have committed myself to four or five projects.

Who are your favourite actors in Tamil, Hindi and English?

Sivaji Ganesan is a legend. For actors in my age group, Kamal Hassan has made a great impact. For style it is Rajnikant. I try to be different in each of my films. I do not want to be seen as Surya. The inspiration in this case is Kamal Hassan. In Hindi apart from Amitabh Bachchan it is Amir Khan, Salman and Sanjay Dutt. In Malayalam it is Mohanlal. In Hollywood there are several from Mel Gibson and Russel Crowe to Brad Pitt. Among heroines, it is Julia Roberts, Megrine, Madhuri and Hemamalini, Simran and Jyothika. They have proved a point each time they have come on screen.

You believe in doing homework before starting a film?

Well, I take care to see that the role does not resemble my previous ones. But it is not always possible. For instance, "Pithamagan" and "Mayavi." When I saw both the films I realised how similar they were. I observe people and note down mannerisms for use later.

Another actor is in the making in your family. Any comment?

Karthi succeeds in whatever he does. Right from school and college days. Nothing should go wrong now. He is up to date with world cinema. And he is part of a great team — Amir, Ramji and Yuvan Shanker Raja.

Among all your films, which one would you call the best and why?

Each has its plus and minus points. In "Khakka Khakka" we were under a lot of pessure. "Nanda" chiselled me as an actor. "Pithamagan" was a totally different experience. Another memorable role was "Paerazhagan." They are all good in parts, I'm yet to do a role that I would call complete.

Your father missed the national award. Will you try to get it?

I am 29 and finished only 14 films. Perhaps it will happen.

You do commercials just for money. Right?

Money is only one of the factors. It is visibility that matters. All my advertisement films are shown in Malayalam, Tamil and even in Hindi. That gets me recognition.

What about ``Aaru," you are doing under Hari's direction?

It is different, both for me and director Hari. The narration was gripping. Trisha is acting with me after "Mounam Pesiyathu." It will be an action packed film and my fans will love it. Devi Sriprasad is the music director and Priyan handles the camera.

Vikram sings, so does Vijay. You have anything up your sleeve?

After Hari's film, my cousin Gnanavelu is going to produce a film in which I am going to act. Goutam Menon's assistant Krishna is taking up the direction. It is almost like a home project. Well, that may be the beginning. At least I will gain knowledge about filmmaking.

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