Jayam Ravi: Doing films in different genres is a calculated risk
The actor has had a successful year with back-to-back hits in the form of Tik Tik Tik and Adanga Maru
2018 has been a fruitful year for Jayam Ravi, whose recent film Adanga Maru has received positive reviews across the board. The actor, who also gives due credit to his team, feels the film’s success is largely thanks to its subject. “Women’s safety is a topic that needs discussion. Using a fictitious story, we’ve taken on issues we come across every day and questioned the system through our film,” he says, adding, “That said, people come to theatres for entertainment, so we had kept that in mind as well and have given our message as a sugar-coated pill.”
Ravi, who previously worked with newcomers on Romeo Juliet and Bhooloham, teamed up with a debutant director (Karthik Thangavel) again for Adanga Maru. “It was because of the script which I felt an emotional connection with,” says the actor, who has donned the khaki yet again for this film. “Everyone asked me why I was doing a cop role again, but I didn’t have that in mind when doing the film. In Bogan, I was an entertaining cop, in Thani Oruvan, it’s a serious role. But in Adanga Maru, it has a social essence that my previous films such as Nimirndhu Nil had. It is the message that is important,” he says, adding, “We were keen to not go overboard with the performances. I go with the script and don’t expect scenes for myself. If we tune the script to our need, the end product will not be as good.”
His last few films have taken on widely varying subjects — boxing, zombies, fantasy and then a space film. Ask him if it was a conscious decision to try different things, and the Mazhai actor says, “That’s always at the back of my mind. Doing the same kind of roles leads to boredom. I have the age and energy to experiment. Yes, it’s a risk, but it’s a calculated one. The capacity of our audiences to understand cinema is at a new high, thanks to digital platforms which have exposed them to films and TV shows from around the world. We have to live up to that and I’m glad I have good directors who make these subjects work.”
Ask him about the Thani Oruvan reference in Adanga Maru and a smiling Ravi says, “After Jayam, we did Unnakum Ennakum and Santosh Subramaniam, so we were keen on breaking the Jayam tag and I guess Thani Oruvan did it. Both anna (director Mohan Raja) and I are glad that the film became such a huge hit. And now that we’re planning for Thani Oruvan 2, we’re challenging ourselves to do better.” When prodded for more details about the sequel, he adds, “A story can start and end anywhere, that’s in the hands of the writer. I can’t tell you if the film starts from where the first part ended — anna dhaan sollanum. But the essence of the first part will definitely be there.”
In a previous interview, Ravi had stated that flops affect him a lot. Is it the same still? “Both success and failure affect me equally. But I’ve learned that it’s better if I move on quickly. The result is never in our hands, so I concentrate instead on just making sure I give my best for each film.” Speaking of which, he recently lost 20 kilos for his role in an upcoming film, directed by debutant Pradeep Ranganathan. “The portion for which I lost my weight has already been shot. We filmed that portion first as I have to put on weight for the rest of the film. It will be a comedy entertainer stressing on humanity,” he says, adding that he’s also got a film with director Ahmed of Manithan fame.
Ravi used to be known for his remakes, but he seems to have given them up. “The Telugu-dubbed versions of my films are doing well these days. So if we do a remake, that business gets affected. Also, I haven’t come across any good films that suit me in recent times,” he explains.
Not many know that Ravi worked as an assistant to director Suresh Krishna for Aalavandhan and was a part of the scripting process for Mohan Raja’s Velayudham. Asked if we expect to see him direct a film soon, he smiles and says, “Direction has become a family trait. And yes, I do intend to direct a film. I’m actually working on a script. Before my hair turns white, I’ll do a film.”