I hope to do a masala film with a good script soon: Arulnithi
The actor, whose latest thriller, K-13 opened to favourable reviews this past weekend, talks about the film
Arulnithi, who will soon be entering his 10th year in the industry, seems to be a fan of thrillers, given several of his films belong to the genre, including last week's release, K-13. But the actor disagrees. "Though I've done Demonte Colony, Aarathu Sinam, and Iravukku Aayiram Kangal, in between, I've also done feel-good films such as Brindhavanam. Even my upcoming film with Jiiva is a story about two kabbadi players, who are friends. After that, there's a film with Seenu Ramasamy sir and you can expect whatever you love from his films."
He affirms that he chooses projects based on the script. "I actually take my friends to listen to scripts. It's just that the ones I pick end up being thrillers, more often than not. Maybe it's to do with more directors approaching me with thrillers," he smiles.
Excerpts from a conversation:
What about K-13 intrigued you the most?
When Barath Neelakantan (the director) narrated the script to me, within the first fifteen minutes itself, I was impressed with the film. But I waited for him to finish the full story, and it only got better from there. He surprised me a few times during the narration with the twists in the story. We were keen to make a film that would be called a different attempt. This film, which is a psycho-thriller, is completely different from my previous thrillers.
Your character in Brindhavanam was loud, but in Iravukku Aayiram Kangal, it was a subtler performance. How do you bring about such changes?
In Brindhavanam, I played a role who can't speak or hear, and director Radha Mohan sent me to get trained. There were a lot of rehearsals as we were keen that the sign language should reach the audience. In Iravukku Aayiram Kangal, I played a call taxi driver, but I didn't want to copy anyone's mannerisms as it would look artificial. So I portrayed the role imagining what I would have done as a driver. For K-13 again, in which I play an assistant director waiting for his first film, I haven't imitated any AD, but have only tried to bring out their struggles from my perspective.
So does that mean you spend as much time to understand the character as the script?
Of course. Understanding the character is just as important. A good film can be brought down by a poorly-written character, and vice versa. But mostly, I listen to and follow what the director says to a T.
You've said earlier that you can easily figure out whether a character would fit you well.
Yes. I think it's pretty easy to judge that. When listening to a story, I simultaneously visualise myself in that story. So at that stage itself, it is possible to know if I can fit in those shoes.
Is that the reason for staying away from what is usually tagged as masala cinema?
Actually, I want to do those kinds of films, but I need to be in a stage where I can carry one. Also, I still think the script is important even for masala films. So I hope I get one with a good script in the future.
You said you take your friends for story discussions, so what do you, as a team, look for in a script?
First, it's obviously the story. This is followed by the team. I tend to be more apprehensive about who the music director and cinematographer are, when it comes to thrillers, because they are of utmost importance for that genre. For instance, without music, a scene that requires build up to amp up the tension, will look tediously long.
As far as listening to scripts is concerned, I take my friends because they can tell me immediately whether the script works or not. Appove sollita selavum micham, timeum micham (laughs). Having said that, there have been times I've accepted stories which they've not liked too.