Actor Sampath Raj talks about new-gen directors and hunting down bold characters
IF Sampath Raj is in a film, it’s guaranteed to be an out-of-the-box one. So we have great expectations of his new movie, Burma, directed by Dharanidharan and starring another experienced actor, Atul Kulkarni. “The movie is about private financiers of vehicles, and the people who work for them. It is a happy film and a complete entertainer,” says the actor, who is remembered for his performances in Saroja and Aaranya Kaandam. The handsome actor with the deep voice is popular in Telugu cinema too, where he has two movies awaiting release.
When it comes to films in Tamil, Raj admits he doesn’t get too many good scripts. “I don’t get varied roles. I have a feeling that the new crop of directors are wary of me because they think I won’t work with newcomers. I guess just like in corporates, when you reach a certain position, you are not approached for petty things. Or they think I am too expensive or too arrogant,” says the actor whose last Tamil release, Jilla, saw him donning a negative role. In fact, even Dharanidharan was quite surprised when Raj accepted the role in. “I am not the bad guy I play on screen, I can be nice too. I remember during the first few days of shoot, everybody was up tight. So I decided to take the crew for a party. After that it was fun times on the set,” admits the actor, who started his career with a decade-long stint in advertising.
Mum’s the word
As an actor, Raj wants to constantly test his limits. “If someone wants me to play a 90-year-old man, I will jump at the opportunity. I am not sure if I will live so long, so I’d like to see how I’ll look at 90,” he says, adding that the decision would not please his mother. “She never wanted me to enter movies. Who leaves a secure job for films? And now that I am in it, she only wants me to be a hero,” he laughs. In search of bold, solid characters, Sampath has a soft spot for grey characters. “They attract me as there is a lot of mystery around them,” he says. As for his favourite character, it has to be his role in Saroja.
Burma is scheduled to release by the end of the month.
— Mrinalini Sundar