Vikram Prabhu, 27
Three to go: I am currently shooting for Ivan Vera Mathiri, a thriller, Arima Nambi, an urban story with Priya Anand, and Sigaram Thodu, with a newcomer Gaurav Narayanan. All three films are young and fresh, with unconventional storytelling methods.
Life after Kumki: I did not want people to think I was only fit for village roles. I had begun work on Arima Nambi even before Kumki. It was a role with a city subject. I choose my movies myself, based on whether I will go watch it or not.
The balancing act: I am a third generation actor and I have seen my father and grandfather managing both personal and professional life. Sunday is family time. It is a tradition started by my grandad where we make biryani and then chill at home.
Mentor in the family: I believe that if I approach dad, he will only get tense and wonder if everything is going fine with me. He does advise me sometimes.
Director special: Mani Ratnam and Shankar are a given. I want to keep up to a director’s expectations
Funny business: I think my first
movie was crazy enough when I spent days feeding and talking
to an elephant. On the sets,
I do crack jokes but
I stay calm
Being experimental: When I take up something and if I face challenges, I will meet them. I do not care if it is a hit or not as long as I have done my best. I will not try a science fiction or a superhero movie. I know, after Kumki, that children seem to like me, but I am not experienced enough to roles like the above. That said, I would love to do a historical movie. I need to take calculated decisions, that is the simplest thing I can do right now.
Dealing with pressure: I am focussing on getting up every morning and giving 100 per cent to my work. I do not have time for comparisons. I am normally a positive person so I do not take too much tension. I often talk to myself or zone out in front of the TV. Also, I cannot live without coffee and am a big fan of Starbucks and Saravana Bhavan. And for scenes where I am getting beaten up, I go for a Red Bull.
Gautham Karthik, 24
Three to go: Sippai, a comedy, Vai Raja Vai, a thriller and Yennamo Yedho, a romcom are coming up. After Kadal, I got a variety of roles from different genres, like playing a Malayali-Tamil character, or an NRI who returns to discover his roots, but I did not take up these projects.
Family album: I had a carefree upbringing, so the sudden attention after Kadal was different. In Bangalore, it takes at least three days for a stranger to identify me. That’s not the case in Chennai and my dad keeps telling me how I am a public figure and need to watch what I say or do.
Being experimental: I cannot handle horror and ghosts. But I would love to do a supernatural or a science fiction movie. Something like Jodhaa Akbar will also be fun. I think I am the youngest actor around, and am in a position to take risks.
Deciding factor: Once I have agreed to a script, my dad listens to it and shares how I could go about it. After our discussion, we ‘lock’ the movie. He is also working on a movie now so our dinner conversations are quite interesting.
Unwind: I drive, get home
and crash out, play music and video games. I really like this
band Incarcerated, and jam with friends. I had my own band in school, Dead End Street
Friends: Nakul. He is really sweet, makes everyone laugh
Dealing with pressure: It is like closing your eyes, like horses in a race, and pushing your limits. And dealing with failure? We are young at heart and responsibility comes with age and experience. You need to make mistakes.
Experiences: I once took a tractor while shooting and disappeared. I also ended up having a long chat about washing vessels with a woman who lived near the sets. While shooting for Kadal, people would ask me to point out Karthik’s son and I would act like I had no idea. I had taken sailing classes then and that was a lot of fun.
Inspiration: Besides my parents, Mani Ratnam. I have never met anyone so simple and down to earth.
— Mrinalini Sundar