I'm not interested in the numbers game
says Jayam Ravi, who has got a variety of films in his kitty
Experiment has been the keyword for Jayam Ravi. Having essayed a wide variety of roles--from a boxer to an IPS officer--he has ensured he hasn't been typecast and continues to "try different things with every project". "I've reached a stage now, where all that matters is a good film, even if it comes from new or relatively unknown directors," he says.
Excerpts from a conversation with the actor:
What is it like to have completed 14 years in the industry?
(Smiles) It's been an exciting journey. I'm being offered good scripts and getting to work with wonderful directors. Yes, I've made some risky choices business-wise, but that's okay! In between mainstream films, I've taken up films like Peranmai and Miruthan. Even my upcoming projects, including Sangamithra, aren't your regular films. I like being unpredictable. At the end of the day, you have to follow your heart, your conviction, what you feel is right. When you do that, it reflects in your work.
It is said your role as a tribal man in Vanamagan was quite challenging.
Sometimes, all it takes for an actor to agree to a film is a one-line description. Vanamagan was one such. As soon as Vijay narrated the script to me, I knew I wanted to do it. I lost about 15 kilos; that wasn't easy. The shooting went for 65 days. I had to climb trees and trek long distances barefoot. Tribal people are always on the move; so they have lean bodies. I had to get that physique. I did cardio exercises and was on high proteins. It was also a challenge to express emotions without many dialogues.
Does it mean you'll emote only non-verbally throughout the film?
I can't tell you that, but let me say that tribal people do not communicate the way we do; they rely less on words. They have chosen to live away from all of us and there's a reason for it. But who are these people? Not many films have shown the lives of tribal communities in detail, nor how they were all related to each other once. I got to learn a lot about them while making this film. Did you know that not even one tribal person died during the tsunami in the Andamans? Tribes used to have at least 250 people. They didn't have individual houses. They lived together and consumed only natural products. They didn't use metals or tyres. So we haven't used them in Vanamagan. They didn't wear clothes, but we had to, for obvious reasons! (Laughs)
It seems most of your roles are physically-demanding?
When there's a challenge, it makes you focus. I like to do roles that test my abilities. Breaking out of my comfort zone with each film makes me feel alive.
You're also doing Tik Tik Tik.
It will be the first-ever Indian space film. But I don't play an astronaut; I play a magician who is part of a space expedition! The story is very different and revolves around five important characters, and is set against a unique backdrop. More than 80 per cent of the film is done, and I am sure it's going to be a visual treat for the audience. It will also mark my son Aarav's debut in Tamil cinema. We kept rehearsing our scenes at home. He loves my films and we had a great time working together.
You're also a part of Sundar C's ambitious project, Sangamithra.
It's a beautiful story, and will be my first period film. The team has started the pre-production work, which is currently going on in Hyderabad. I'll start shooting from August. I will be undergoing training in sword-fighting and horse riding before the filming starts.
Is Thani Oruvan-2 on the cards?
Yes! My brother (Raja) has promised me that it will be my 25th project. Let's see.