'I want to be identified as a Tamil actor'
...says Ko-fame Ajmal Ameer, who is awaiting the release of his film, Iravukku Aayiram Kangal, that stars Arulnithi
Ajmal Ameer was introduced to Tamil cinema by Mysskin in Anjathe, in which he played an angry young man. He has since gone on to do films like TN 07 AL 4777, Thiru Thiru Thuru Thuru and Ko, besides a few projects in Telugu and Malayalam. The doctor-turned-actor remains forever grateful for what KV Anand's Ko did to his career. "Very few actors have the good fortune to find good friends in their directors. In my case, I found a big brother in Mysskin and a mentor in KV Anand. Both of them have taught me how to select good scripts," he adds.
After Ko, he hasn't really done many films. "I was pursuing my Master's in Orthopedics in London. Naturally, I had to stay away from films. But many thought I had quit cinema. There were also rumours that I was charging Rs 2 or 3 crore for a project. Only I knew how much I missed acting. I have always felt it is my calling," he smiles.
He's excited to be back with Arulnithi-starrer Iravukku Aayiram Kangal. "I don't think I can call this a comeback because I also did Karuppampatti (2012) and Vetri Selvan (2014), which for lack of good publicity, bombed at the box office. But I am optimistic about Iravukku because of its story and screenplay."
The film's director Mu Maran was an associate of KV Anand. "That's one of the reasons I was chosen," he shares. "I loved my character in the film, which gives a lot of scope for performance. You'll know when you watch the film." The film supposedly revolves around as many as eight main characters. "I play Gautam, a man who will do anything for money. It's not just my character that has negative shades; Arulnithi's does too," he reveals. Ajmal is all praise for him. "I loved Demonte Colony, and find him to be an excellent performer. When I signed the film, I knew he was already on board." He had no apprehensions though about doing a multi-starrer. "I am not new to such projects. I believed in my role, and the value I could add to the film."
He doesn't believe in doing only lead characters. "When I started out, I had a different understanding of cinema. I thought I could wait for 'good films'. Eventually, I learned it doesn't work that way. If I am to grow, I need to keep my options open and experiment the way Vijay Sethupathi and Sivakarthikeyan did. All that matters is an established production house," he adds.
Ajmal surprises us by saying he was approached first to play the villain in Thani Oruvan. "I got constant calls from the production house (AGS Entertainment), but couldn't accept because I had three big-budget films in Telugu. I don't regret missing the offer though because Arvind Swami was terrific in the film."
He says he's very serious about making a mark in Tamil cinema. "I have always wanted to be an actor and grew up watching Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan. Though I don't belong to a film background, my family understood my dreams and has supported me. I am now looking to do back-to-back films here; I'm listening to lots of scripts," he tells us.
Though he has done films in other languages, he says he wants to be identified as a Tamil actor. "Tamil cinema made me what I am today. I may have worked with technicians from Telugu and Malayalam, but I'm convinced that this industry is the best," he says.