Whatever I do is being politicised
Udhayanidhi Stalin opens up about his upcoming film and a lot more
Though Saravanan Irukka Bayamaen is only Udhayanidhi Stalin’s seventh film, he already has a tremendous fan-following. The actor-producer looks in top shape even as his mass-entertainer with Ezhil reaches cinemas tomorrow. He says that as always, the challenge is to find “commercially viable scripts that work at the box office.” Excerpts from an interview with the young actor:
We hear you play a politician in Saravanan Irukka Bayamaen.
Yes, but it’s not a serious film like Manithan. It’s a typical Ezhil film that has plenty of hilarious moments. The film is targeted at the B and C centres. I think I fit more into these stories.
Is that why your films usually cater to that audience?
I want to do clean, audience-friendly films. That’s my rule of thumb. I’ve always been particular about certain things, for instance. My characters should not drink, smoke, or do vulgar scenes. Also, when I look back, I should feel that I have done good films.
Is it fair to say you prefer masala films?
It’s not like that. I want to be a part of films that can reach as many as possible. In Saravanan..., Ezhil made my job pretty easy. He’s a producer’s director. (Smiles) We shot the whole film within 40 days. Even if I goof-up the dialogues, he doesn’t get tense, but says, “Ellam dubbing-la paathukalaam.”
When doing a film, do you think from the standpoint of an actor or producer?
Even before I became an actor, I was a producer. It’s easy for me to understand the business of filmmaking. I also distribute small-budget films, but don’t publicise it. Once I associate my name with those films, I know problems will crop up. I don’t want others to be in trouble.
I can’t shake the notion that you don’t take your acting too seriously.
But I do! I have done only a handful of films. Don’t judge me already. (Laughs) If I weren’t serious, I would not have picked Manithan. Again, I reiterate that I want my films to cater to all the audiences.
Considering you’re from a political family, would you be open to doing, say, a political satire?
Yes, I am from a well-established political family, and so, I have certain limitations. I don’t know if I can do a full-fledged political satire. But there’s actually reference to a political party which gets split into two in Saravanan Irukka Bayamaen. We have not done anything on purpose though. The story was written six months ago.
Your films don’t seem to qualify for tax exemptions. What about this one?
I face the same issue for every film. When I was struggling for the release of Manithan, I was told that it’s an English word! I am targeted each time for no reason. Whatever I do is being politicised. It’s hard to get a film released these days without any trouble. And to tell you the truth, there’s zero pressure from my family. My focus is only on cinema.
Is it possible that your focus could change in the future?
Ten years ago, I never thought I’d get into acting or film distribution. I am not planning to enter politics anytime soon, if that’s what you are asking. I can’t sign an agreement to prove this. Things happen when they happen.
Rumour has it that Manithan-2 is on the cards?
We are working on it, but let me clarify that it’s not based on Jolly LLB 2. I’ve requested Fox Star Studios for permission to retain Akshay Kumar’s character from the original. Besides that, there’s no similarity. Even if it doesn’t materialise, I’ll do another film with director Ahmed. You can expect an official confirmation soon.
What about the other movies you have in the pipeline — Podhuvaga En Manasu Thangam and Ippadai Vellum?
Podhuvaga... is almost over and for the first time, I’ve done a film for another producer. Parthiepan has done a negative role in it. We can talk about Ippadai Vellum later. It’s not even the final title. We started the dubbing work recently.
Your films have generally had star heroines like Nayanthara, Amy Jackson...
The strategy is simple. If not for Nayanthara, Amy — my films wouldn’t have had a good reach. I was a new guy then. Ippo, namakku Nayanthara vendaam. (Laughs) On a serious note, I suggest names, but the directors and the budget decide if the script needs them.
Who’s your favourite filmmaker?
SS Rajamouli. But I don’t know if I will ever get an opportunity to work with him. Avar date ketaa, 10 years kooda kudukalaam!
Your wife’s (Kiruthiga) a filmmaker. Any chance of a film with her?
She’s directing me anyway. (Laughs)
Let’s talk about your dream project.
A commercial cinema that chronicles the life of my grandfather Kalaignar! I would love to produce it.