'I may never make a film in Tamil again'
Raju Sundaram, who plays a serial killer in Yaanum Theeyavan that released yesterday, talks about directorial prospects, and his undying love for dance
Hailing from a family of dancers, (his father Sundaram and brother Prabhudheva are acclaimed choreographers), it is only natural that dance consumes Raju Sundaram. "I only know dance. Everything else is difficult," laughs Raju, who plays the villain in Prashanth G Shekar’s Yaanum Theeyavan that released yesterday.
"The director approached me with this script that is based on a true event. I originally thought the part was of a comic villain. When he told me I was going to play a serial killer, I was laughing in my head," says the actor. "Initially, I was apprehensive if I could do justice to the role. Eventually, I got convinced. I owe it all completely to the director." He tells us the film is about a couple who fall into a trap after their marriage, and how they come out of it forms the rest of the story.
Raju started his career assisting his father as a dancer, and went on to do cameos in Prabhudheva’s songs. It was Shankar who first offered him an opportunity to act in Jeans. "That was my first full-length role. I still wonder why he chose me for the film. Maybe because he has seen the way I talk and how I am as a person," he says.
The choreographer-actor also tried his hand at direction in 2008, and with a film starring Ajith no less, when he made Aegan. Ask him why he didn’t go on to pursue filmmaking, and he candidly says, "Andha padam ozhunga odala. After that, I didn’t get a chance to direct. I couldn’t focus much because I was also not too keen on it."
But his brother Prabhudheva seems to have made it as a director. He laughs, "He’s very hardworking, unlike me. I’ve been inconsistent; he hasn’t been. I guess I couldn’t handle both (direction and choreography). Also, direction isn’t an easy job. If I have to direct, I must cut down on my dance assignments. I can’t do that. Dance is my priority always."
Raju pauses, and says, "Actually, I’ve been wondering if I should return to filmmaking. But I am not sure who’ll want to work with me considering Aegan was a flop."
Does he perhaps harbour a tiny hope of becoming a successful filmmaker like Prabhudheva, and he smiles, "To be honest, I am not sure I’ll ever make a film in Tamil again. But I may in Telugu. I know a lot of producers, who encourage me to do more films. But I will have to think about it again."
As for Prabhudheva, he says he is "extremely happy that he’s doing well. But I am not jealous of him. We don’t discuss films at home. If the need me, he calls me--like when he requested me to choreograph a song for Devi(l)."
Raju doesn’t "go in search of opportunities", but picks whatever comes his way. "That’s why Prabhudheva and I haven’t acted in many films either. We aren’t that keen to collaborate too often."
Looking back, he feels much gratitude for his father, Sundaram. "Whatever I am today is because of him. I was an average kid in school and my dad was concerned about my future. He was the one to pull me into films and dance. I didn’t know I would become successful. From a nobody, I have come a long way."
Perhaps he should make a film on dancers? Pat comes the answer, "No, but I worry about them. Ten years ago, there were at least five songs in a film. Now, there are only montages. Someone in the Dancers’ Union told me that there are fewer opportunities. I am quite anxious."