'People will see a different Nakkhul in the next ten years'
...says the actor, whose tenth film Brahma.com released recently
It's safe to say Nakkhul has come a long way since his Boys days. While his exuberance is still intact, a sense of maturity is evident as he speaks. The actor's tenth film, Brahma.com, released last Friday, and Nakkhul is happy with how it has been received. "You never know how things will turn out. Sometimes, the best films fail, while the worst succeed. That's why I have zero expectations when it comes to my films. Fortunately, the audience liked this film and I'm happy," he says.
Brahma.com is a fantasy film with a modern take on Thiruvilayadal. "It's not a remake, nor is it a film about a man who sings in a temple. It’s about how Brahma toys with the life of a person through Facebook," says Nakkhul, adding that he was hooked on to the story soon as he heard it. "I loved how director Vijayakumar narrated the script, and it’s no surprise that audiences like it too."
The film has a big star cast that includes Ashna Zaveri, Rajendran, Siddharth Vipin, Neetu Chandra and veteran director-actor K Bhagyaraj. "Bhagyaraj sir plays an important role. To work with such a senior actor, who was a master of screenplay, was a great experience," says Nakkhul, who calls it his toughest film till date, but for an unusual reason. "Till now, I thought of my role in Vallinam or the one in Tamiluku En Ondrai Aluthavum as my toughest, but not anymore, and that’s because everyone on the sets of Brahma.com were friends, and it was close to impossible to shoot, given how we’d be laughing all the time." He says he became great friends with both the director and producer. "The DOP Deepak Kumar Padhy was a friend already, as we'd previously worked together on Tamizhuku En Ondrai Azhuthavum. The editor, VJ Sabu Joseph, was also the editor of Vallinam. So we had a great time shooting for this film."
Nakkhul doesn't believe in sailing with the tide. "I don't want to do what's trending -- such as a horror film. I analyse how much logic a script has, and whether the screenplay is good. I listen to scripts from an audience's point of view. I believe in starting my own trend," says Nakkhul, who's worked on one film a year for the last five years. "I would like to do more films, but I can only choose from what I get, right?" The actor feels it's risky to work with new directors. "If I listen to 20 stories, only two or three are up to the mark. Instead of doing 20 bad films and having people tell me that acting isn't for me, I'd prefer for them to ask where I was for a year. It makes me feel special," he laughs.
He also doesn't want to be stereotyped as someone who can only do certain scripts. "I want to be a director's actor. That's why I tell my directors to use me properly. I don't want to do only commercial films though they're easier. Films I’ve done, like Vallinam and Tamizhuku En Ondrai Azhuthavum, make me feel good about my career."
It has also been a long time since the man, who has sung tracks like Kaadhal Yanai (Anniyan), Manjal Veyil and Karka Karka (Vettaiyadu Villaiyadu), and Naakka Mukka (Kadhalil Vizhunthen), lent his voice for a song. "I just like singing. I'm not a trained singer. The music directors I've worked with have been kind and given me the honour of working with them. But I have no ambition to go down that path."
Nakkhul is surprised when I point out that come 2018, he will have completed a decade in Tamil cinema. "I've always thought of Kadhalil Vizhunthen as my debut. Boys was more of an experience,” he says. “Looking back, I started with a do-or-die motto and I am still like that. I've improved a lot over the years. I've also learned that success is not a guarantee, and that failure is a learning. I don't want to be pompous but I can promise people that they will see me in a different light during the next ten years." says the actor, who'll next be seen in Sei.