I now believe in destiny : Vikram Prabhu
The actor chats about his latest release, Sathriyan, and on turning producer
The first thing that strikes you about Vikram Prabhu is the time he takes to say each sentence. He’s cautious about what he says, and even how he does it. Fresh from the release of his action-drama, Sathriyan, Vikram Prabhu reflects on his acting career, and talks about why he has now taken on the mantle of production too:
Your films before Sathriyan--Wagah and Veera Sivaji--didn’t exactly do well at the box-office. What was running in your mind when you chose Sathriyan?
I am aware of my strengths as an actor. I could have chosen only films that suited my image, but I don’t believe in getting success easily. I don’t want to get stuck doing a particular type of role. New things excite me and I constantly attempt to bring in different dimensions to my performances. I want to experiment and explore, and I am definitely not here to prove myself to others. I do things for myself. Sathriyan seemed like a good script and SR Prabhakaran is a confident director.
Would you say Sathriyan is more for the B and C audiences.
To me, only the story is important, not demarcation by way of centres. After all, audiences come with expectations, and our job is to keep them engaged. Sometimes the script inspires you, sometimes the character.
How’s your next, Neruppu Da, shaping up? It marks your debut as a producer.
Well, it was hectic—because I had to be an actor; and also double up as a producer. Since the film is directed by a debutant director (Ashok Kumar), I had to keep an eye on the execution too. Producing films, especially at this moment, is a risk. But it has been a big learning experience.
Thanks to how well we did pre-production, we were able to keep the cost down and stick to deadlines. We also had an experienced cameraman in RD Rajasekhar, and music director Sean Roldan, who, as usual, has churned out wonderful songs for this film. Neruppu Da is like a baby to me. In the film, I play a fireman, who’s an ardent fan of Rajinikanth. The shooting is over and the film may hit the screens next month.
What did you enjoy about producing your own film?
I felt a deep sense of satisfaction. I also am now confident that I can help make commercially-viable films. After turning producer, I’ve realised how much better a film can be when you spend money on its making. Neruppu Da is just a beginning.
What made you venture into production though?
I never take credit for my film’s success, but when something goes wrong, I am usually hard on myself. Failures affect me and I am my biggest critic. In fact, there have been times when I’ve really tried to figure out why certain films have bad outcomes. The director narrates a great one-liner but somewhere, the film ends up failing miserably. Something goes wrong somewhere. A couple of times, I knew it was coming, and hoped that the film could perhaps be saved during post-production. And then, I realised, “Not all one-liners can turn into successful films.” You don’t get good scripts often! Also, the screenplay matters. It’s not just about writing the narrative; you also have to understand the visual potential of the story. Eventually, instead of blaming others, I decided to take on the responsibility myself, and do something productive.
You’re still an up-and-coming actor. Production must seem quite stressful for you.
Absolutely! It’s okay to fail as a student, but not as one in the cinema business. Filmmaking involves a lot of money. Your failure affects others too. I am a person who wants every film to do well. My family has taught me this. Also, I realised that success in films requires a bit of fortune. Initially, I didn’t believe in the notion of destiny, timing and so on. But now I do.
What’s next for you, and who are some filmmakers you want to work with?
Pakka is almost done, and is an interesting film in terms of my look and character. I’d love to work with SS Rajamouli, and not just because of Baahubali. I saw Chhatrapati when I returned from the US, and was blown away. I didn’t know who Prabhas was then, but I knew he’d become a great star. After Kumki, Lingusamy mentioned that he’d (Prabhas) liked my work. I felt really happy.