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    Vishal tells us why Pandiy-anadu is a landmark film and why he dreams of 48-hr work days

    Vishal has a lot at stake this Diwali. For one, he has turned producer with Pandiyanadu and secondly it’s a film he believes will turn his fortunes around. The 36-year-old actor’s two previous releases, Samar and Pattathuyanai were average grossers and he is hoping to make amends with this Susheenthran film. “I should say that the film chose me as a producer. It’s an important film for me. I thought it is high time that I took charge of my career. I had some bitter experiences before,”says the actor who admits to having initially wanted to be a director. His company, Vishal Factory, was started last year to promote new directors and actors. That said, Vishal admits that being a producer is not easy. “I wish I had 48 hours a day. It is going to be a simultaneous release in Telugu and Tamil,” he tells me.

    Going against type

    The image of an action hero sits easily on Vishal. It’s something he earned right from his debut film, Chellamea (2004). Ironically, the role was offered to him when he was assisting on the original action king, actor Arjun’s film, Vedham. A year later, Sandakozhi sealed the deal and from then on, except for a half-hearted attempt at comedy in Malai Kottai, Vishal chose to play it safe with heavy-duty action films like Sathyam (2008) and Thoranai (2009). The latter didn’t create much noise at the box office. Bala’s Avan Ivan changed all that. His cross-eyed Walter Vanangamudi stunned detractors with effortless acting and the movie was a clear winner. That was his coming-of-age movie as an actor. “For the last ten years, I have been trying to come out of the action image. Every actor will be offered a film which will take you to a next level as an actor. I have the same feeling with Pandiyanadu. It’s after Avan Ivan that I am getting such films. While filming, I never had a feeling of deja vu. In fact, during the climax scene, I was clueless as to what body language to use,” declares the actor. Another high point in Pandiyanadu is that Vishal gets to share the screen with director Bharatiraja, who plays his father in the film.

    Love and adventure

    Off screen, he is a softie, who loves romantic films, especially Korean, and Mani Ratnam’s Dil Se. “I love doing romance on screen. But I don’t know whether the audience love it as much,’’ laughs the actor. When not playing cricket, and badminton with friends over the weekend, he is a travel junkie who takes off to the NorthEast after every film release. He loves travelling solo. “I take a bike or just get on top of a bus. I love trekking to the Himalayas,” he confides. And about taking on biggies like Aarambham and All in All Azhaguraja this Diwali– “May the best man win.”

    Neelima Menon

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