Atharvaa: I don't mind being referred to as Murali's son
The actor debuted as a producer with Semma Botha Aagathey, which released last Friday
Imagine being a new producer and having your first film skip quite a few release dates. You finally manage to get one, and then, some of the shows get cancelled on the day of the release. Any other producer will be fuming, but Atharvaa, who has made his debut as a producer with Semma Botha Aagathey, is a picture of composure. "I'm glad the film's reception has been good," he says.
The actor, who also stars in the film, explains it's "not a serious subject but a fun-filled entertainer. I'd even call it a chick-flick." He adds, "It was a conscious choice to pick a simple subject as I thought my films were getting too serious. Both director Badri sir and I wanted to make a film for the youth and we were keen that it should be a jolly entertainer."
The film also marks the second time the actor is joining hands with director Badri - after Baana Kaathadi eight years ago. "We've always been in touch with each other, so it's a reunion only for the audience (laughs)." Interestingly, they planned on collaborating immediately after Baana Kaathadi, but the project didn't materialise. "I wouldn't mind doing a film with the same team. Not immediately, because I have other projects lined up, and he's also starting his next film soon. But a little while later perhaps."
The actor believes the trust between a director and a producer is very important. "When Badri sir narrated this story to me, I didn't know how many people would actually understand the kind of film it was. I originally didn't have the idea of producing a film. It was Badri sir who asked me to and I thought, why not? He gave me my first film and I wanted to do something for him."
On his experience as a producer, he says, "It's the toughest part of making a film (smiles). Producing isn't easy and neither is getting the film out -- especially one like Semma Botha Aagathey, which is quite different from other films. But seeing the film on screen being enjoyed by the audience, makes up for all the hardship." Ask him if we can expect more from his Kiickass Entertainment, and he says, "Of course. As soon as I'm done with the set of films I have, I'll produce another one."
Atharvaa has been a fan of the film's composer, Yuvan Shankar Raja, from his school days. "I was excited when I got to know he was going to compose music for my first film. He was our only choice. We needed an energetic music director who understood the kind of film we were making. He was the perfect choice."
The actor was trending recently, thanks to featuring in the music video of Gautham Menon's single, Bodhai Kodhai. "I think digital platforms are the present as well as the future. Thanks to them, we see some really good and quirky content. Gautham sir and I have been in talks for a feature film for a while, but things didn't materialise." That's when Aishwarya Rajesh informed him about Bodhai Kodhai. "They (Aishwarya and Gautham Menon) are working on a film (Dhruva Natchathiram), and I got on board when I heard about this. I'm glad I did."
Asked if the comparisons with his father, late-actor Murali, have stopped now, he says, "From the time I've started, it has considerably reduced, I guess (smiles). People from the previous generation still address me as Murali's son because he was that popular. And I love being known as his son."
For an actor who has so far averaged a release a year, Atharvaa has quite a substantial lineup. "I wouldn't call it a signing spree. I'm doing films that are interesting and I'm in a zone where I can do films I like." He has Othaikku Othai, which he says is a film close to his heart. "It's about three years of college -- a film everyone can relate to." Then there's Boomerang, which he calls the fastest film he's done till date. "We started in April and I'm already dubbing for it. It has an interesting plot." The actor is also donning the khaki in 100. "It's an out-and-out cop flick. After Eetti in which I was seen post-climax as a cop, I got many such offers. But at that point, I didn't think I had the confidence needed to carry it off," says Atharvaa, who also has Kurudhi Aatam with director Sri Ganesh of 8 Thottakal fame. "We've been planning that from last year, but I had other projects to finish. It'll be an action based film based in Madurai."
And then, of course, there's Imaikkaa Nodigal, the trailer of which went viral recently. "It's a film I wanted to be a part of even before its director did his first film," adds Atharvaa, who plays Nayanthara's brother in the film. "By working with her in this film, I understood why she's called the Lady Superstar."