I was offered bribes to accept villain roles: Aadhi
...says Aadhi who plays a police officer in last week's bilingual release, U Turn
A look at Aadhi’s filmography reveals an unusual approach to his career. He debuted in a rural thriller, Mirugam, and followed it by playing an urban cop in Eeram. He’s had an interesting list of films including the rural Aravaan and the urban Yagavarayinum Naa Kaakka. And then, from nowhere, he played a villain in Allu Arjun's Sarrainodu. And just as you concluded that his focus had shifted to Telugu, he came back to Tamil with the hilarious Maragadha Naanayam.
And now, in last week's bilingual, U Turn, Aadhi has donned the khaki nine years after Eeram. It’s a remake, but he doesn’t make much of that. "We didn't make a carbon copy. We just took the emotions from the original," he says.
Excerpt from a conversation:
How did you become a part of U Turn?
Pawan made Lucia with a budget of 70 lakhs. I didn't want to miss the chance to work with such an intelligent filmmaker. He was kind enough to ask me whether I wanted changes in the script. He even asked me whether I needed a special introduction shot, but I didn’t want to mar his vision. He did tweak the script though to make some changes to my role to increase its importance.
How different is U Turn's Pradheep Nayak from the cop you played in Eeram?
I decided to perform more spontaneously here. It’s more or less the same setup and an honest cop again; so I felt I should go with the flow. I asked them not to give me the dialogues in advance and got it only during the shoot. As I knew both the languages, getting the dialogues right was quite easy.
After the well-received Maragatha Nanayam, you surprisingly shifted to Telugu again, and worked in films like Rangasthalam and Neevevaro.
It’s not planned. A lot of friends keep insisting that I should stick to one language, and not juggle as I do. But I just go with the flow. The Telugu audience really liked me as a villain in Sarrainodu. After that, I got offered many villain roles in Tamil and Telugu. First, they requested me. Then, they even offered bribes. But I declined.
You seem to be quite okay with sharing the limelight with other actors — like Ram Charan in Rangasthalam and Samantha in U Turn.
I've always been this way. In Eeram, Nandha had a prominent role too, and so did the heroine. But I still got recognised for my performance. In Rangasthalam and Sarrainodu, even though I wasn't the main lead, I was still talked about. I don't sign a film unless my role will create some impact.
You've carried the same look for most of your films, except in Aravaan and Mirugam.
I've actually been thinking about that. I guarantee that the audience will be shocked to see my look in my upcoming films — the RX 100 Tamil remake and another project.
Have you ever felt that your looks prevent you from playing certain roles?
Not at all. If a director can convincingly write and shoot a character, they can feature Aadhi as a beggar, car driver or a scientist. Taking the advancements in makeup into account, a filmmaker can even show me as an 80-year old. In short, if I can see myself in the skin of the character, I believe that I can convince the audience.
U Turn’s a remake, and you’re next doing the RX 100 remake as well.
I think remakes and bilinguals are a healthy trend. Only about ten per cent of filmgoers watch films of other languages. It is our responsibility to take good films across regions. For some reason though, whenever a remake is announced, the reaction is quite underwhelming. I've never understood this. The amount of effort that goes into a remake is often more than in making the original. Everyone goes the extra mile.
You hail from a family of directors. Any filmmaking aspirations?
It’s a tedious process. You can’t make an impactful film without mastering screenplay and direction. I can never see myself doing that. There is so much for me to learn as an actor already; so I think I will stick to that.
When can we expect your next Tamil film?
I have a strong connection with the Tamil audience. They are the ones who found the actor in me in Mirugam. They trusted me when I doubted myself. I want to do 3-4 Tamil films continuously. My next film will be an out-and-out rural film, and then I'll mostly go on to work on a North Madras film. But I am not at liberty to talk about those projects now. I promise you I won’t stay away for too long.