Two big Pongal releases and two big actors. For a change, top comedians take stock of the situation
Like M G Ramachandran and Sivaji Ganesan or Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth, Vijay and Ajith Kumar have often been pitted against each other at the box office during Pongal. This year is no different, with Jilla and Veeram releasing together. We convinced the comedians of each film to showcase their heroes.
He shot to fame with his parotta comedy in Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu (2009), which saw him wolf down parottas earning him the nickname Parotta Soori. The lanky comedian from Madurai went on to do movies like Kalavani, Sundarapandian, and the recent Varuthapadatha Valibar Sangam, with actor Sivakarthikeyan. Excited about his Pongal release, Jilla, he tells us what to expect.
Role play: I play a policeman. A very strict officer who even Vijay is terrified of (laughs). We have a competition between us—like neeya-naana (repartee) This will be a lot like the Vijay-Vadivelu comedy. I hope this movie will alter my career graph.
Hero worship: Vijay is very different in his own way. The movie has action and comedy, but the best part is the father-son relationship, with Mohanlal. The last Vijay movie that saw an intense father-son relationship was Once More, with Sivaji Ganesan.
Lessons on the set: Vijay is a very understanding actor. Sometimes he’d ask me if he could add a line before I deliver my lines. In his position, that is not necessary, but he checks if I’m comfortable with the changes.
Plans for 2014: I have about 10 movies this year—starting with Nimirndhu Nil, Rummy, Pulivaal, Brahman, Maan Karate, Pattaya Kelappanum Pandiya, Kalukkuray Maaplay and a few untitled projects.
Dream casting: I wish to act with Thala, Ajith Kumar.
Critics had predicted the rise of Santhanam when he was a part of Lollu Sabha, a comedy series on Vijay TV. The 33-year-old actor was seen in Siva Manasula Sakthi, Boss Engira Bhaskaran and several projects with Silambarasan. In fact, director M Rajesh once said in an interview that he could make a film without a heroine, but that Santhanam was irreplaceable. The actor tells us about Veeram, the Ajith Kumar-starrer.
Role play: I am one of Ajith’s brothers in the movie and as a lawyer, I get the others out of trouble. After Deiva Thirumagan, this is the second time I’m playing a lawyer.
Hero worship: In the second half of the movie, Ajith shaves his beard. He will be seen doing comedy, action, sentiment and everything a masala movie should have. He has never driven a bullock cart, and this movie will see him doing that, too.
Lessons on the set: Ajith is very specific about his diet. From him I learnt to avoid green tea in the evening.
Plans for 2014: I have a couple of projects like Brahman, Aran-manai, Vallavanukku Pullum Aayudham—in which I play the hero—and an untitled project.
Dream casting: In Mankatha, Ajith says, “I am not Santhanam to do comedy.” I have a very good relationship with him, just like I do with my other co-stars, like Arya and Udhayanidhi Stalin.
— Mrinalini Sundar