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I never thought to create a market for myself: Jai- Cinema express

I never thought to create a market for myself: Jai 

The actor who is all set to have the busiest year of his career, talks about his path forward and his upcoming projects 

Published: 11th March 2019
Jai neeya 2

A common criticism against Jai has been his apparent absence when it comes to the promotions of his films. That was the first question posed to the Pugazh actor. “I’m a very private person and don’t really know what to speak at such meets. I also don’t know how to promote a film so close to its release. Subbu Panchu anna (with whom the actor has done films like Naveena Saraswathi Sabatham, Chennai 600028 II: Second Innings, and Balloon) has given me the confidence and helped me overcome my inhibitions about meeting the media,” he shares.

On the bunch of films he has in the offing, Jai says, “I’ve completed shooting for Party and Neeya 2. I’m shooting for my Malayalam debut, Madhura Raja, with Mammootty sir. It’s a sequel to his hit film Pokkiri Raja(2010).” Speaking about Party, in which he will join hands once again with his usual collaborator, Venkat Prabhu, he says, “I play a semi-villain in the film. It’s a role that has a mix of comedy and serious elements. It was originally meant to be a serious role and two other actors were approached for the part. However, once I got on board, we turned it into a comical character (laughs).” 

Jai, who made his debut in Tamil alongside Vijay in Bhagavathi, is ecstatic about making his Malayalam debut too with another star, Mammootty. “Incidentally, I play the role of a younger brother to a star, once again. Compared to Bhagavathi, my role here will have more screen space. The script details that we are from Madurai, and so thankfully, I speak a lot of Tamil in the film. After Subramaniapuram, this is a film that’s close to my heart.” As other reporters try to engage with him about his personal life and ask about his ‘favourite female actor’, Jai jokes: “Which among the ten are you talking about?” 

I bring the conversation back to his upcoming films, including Neeya 2, the sequel to the popular 1979 horror film. “I was initially hesitant when I learned that there were three other prominent characters in the film, but once I heard the script, I got to know that my role gets equal importance. There is no scope for heroism in this film, and I got on board chiefly for the interesting story.” 

When asked about the ‘kisukisukal’ (rumours) associated with him, he deflects with a modest reply: “I am happy I’m still being spoken about because I know that the heroes who started alongside me are not spoken about as much anymore. More importantly, those around me, including my family and friends, know what is happening in my life. So,  there has never been any pressure to explain.”

Jai accepts that his recent string of releases have not garnered expected results. “We all wish to do successful films but not everything is in our hands. However, I’m confident about the five films I’m working on right now.” The actor points out his upcoming film with Gopi Nainar of Aramm fame as an example. “It’s a story of a slum-dweller, and is based on the football scene in North Chennai. I’m also excited about Breaking News, a sci-fi film with debutant director Andrew.” 

Jai hasn’t been seen in a whole lot of romantic films after the successful Raja Rani. He says, “After Raja Rani, I did an action film, Valiyavan, which was not conceived as one. The script got altered, and as I had already delivered a hit with director Saravanan in Engeyum Eppothum, I didn’t really mind. After that, I began getting only action films (smiles).” He also doesn’t mind being part of multistarrers. “I like how Bollywood pulls such films off. The route I started with — be it Chennai 600028 or Subramaniapuram — wasn’t filled with single-hero subjects. So, the objective of creating a market for myself as a solo actor never occurred to me. I just wanted my producers to get a profit on their investment.” 

He shares that he’s quite grateful to directors like Sundar C and Venkat Prabhu, with whom he shares a comfortable working relationship.  Is there anyone he wants to work with, in particular? “AR Murugadoss sir and Gautham Menon sir. I also want to work with Sasikumar sir once again. I asked him about it after Subramaniapuram for three years. He said that if I didn’t torture him as much, he could actually do one with me (laughs).”

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