Vaibhav: I am not trying to be the Ayushmann Khurrana of the South
The actor, who plays a cop suffering from puberphonia in his latest comedy, Taana, talks about his role, his upcoming films, and more
Vaibhav’s release last year, Sixer, featured him playing a youngster suffering from night blindness. Now, he returns with Taana, in which his character, a cop, suffers from puberphonia (a condition which makes a man sound like a woman under extreme stress or joy). Is he eyeing to be the Ayushmann Khurrana of the South? “Certainly not! I guess the audience would get bored if I repeat this pattern across my films. It was accidental that these two films happened at the same time. I never plan to be a part of only certain kinds of films,” he says.
Interestingly, his films have also generally been comedies. “I don't know whether it's a calculative decision, but I know that I won't be able to enjoy a serious message film,” he says. His objective is to have the audience leave the theatre without any stress. “I want them to say, ‘Vaibhav padam pona jolly-a sirichittu varalaam’. I listen to scripts with this thought in my mind. I would also love to be a part of thrillers like Ratsasan, and maybe films for children like My Dear Kuttichathan and ET. We don't get such films any more.”
He agrees that comedy has turned out to be serious business for him. “My friends in the industry tell me that I do comedy easily. I take this as a compliment. Frankly, I’ve never done any homework for comedy. I simply try to be myself.” In many of his films, Vaibhav is often the butt of jokes, and he says it’s never been a problem. “If I were an image-conscious mass hero, I may have worried about what this may mean to fans. But I have no such restrictions,” he says. “In fact, if the audience sees me as their friend, that is enough.” He wants to be known for being an entertainer. “I never entertained aspirations of being a star. Makkale bore adichu suthitrukaanga. I want to entertain people with my work and make them happy.”
The actor’s look has been fairly consistent for almost a decade, with the exception of films like Chennai-600028 II. Questioned on whether he’s thought about changing things around, he says, “I want everyone in Tamil Nadu to know my face. If I keep changing my appearance, that won’t happen. Also, I don't want to be mocked by those saying, ‘Ivan enna periya Kamal-a, getup laam maathitu irukaan?’ Success is subjective. Some become a famous face after one film. For some like me, it takes a decade.”
Vaibhav will play a policeman again in SG Charles' Lock Up, co-starring director Venkat Prabhu. He calls it his most serious film to date. “I know actors are known to play up films they are a part of. But I am really not exaggerating when I say that Lock Up has one of the most interesting screenplays in recent Tamil cinema. It was so convoluted on paper that I understood it only after Venkat explained it to me using his expertise as a director. You can expect to see a new Vaibhav in the film.”