Arulnithi: All my films have been multi-starrers
The actor talks about his return to commercial cinema with Kalathil Santhippom, his long relationship with thrillers, how Mouna Guru redefined his career and more
Arulnithi had previously shared with us that he takes friends along for script narrations, as he believes that getting opinions from them benefits him. How he got on board this week's commercial entertainer, Kalathil Santhippom, is a different story though. “I got calls directly from producer RB Choudary sir and Jiiva. They felt I would fit the bill and wanted me to listen to the script. I knew that when a 90-film-old producer like Choudary sir trusts a script, things wouldn’t go wrong, and so, I accepted the offer right away,” shares Arulnithi, after settling down comfortably on a sofa for this conversation.
The actor sees Kalathil Santhippom as a much-needed break from all the thrillers he has done. “After Mouna Guru, most of my films have been thrillers. I remain aware that the good name I have gained for myself is through these films. So, I don't want to destroy the goodwill by doing a masala-heavy film that could make people go, ‘Ivanuku yen indha velai?’ However, I will also keep trying to give them variety through such entertainers,” he shares.
Arulnithi keeps registering his gratitude towards Santha Kumar for giving him Mouna Guru. “Every actor has a film that defines his career, one that changes his approach towards everything. For me, that was Mouna Guru. I cannot overstate the image it created for me. Santha Kumar sir was patient in bringing the best out of me through that film. Though I will forever be grateful for getting that opportunity so early in my career, I sometimes feel that I could do a better job if I got the role now.” It was this film, he says, that had him level up as an actor. “I started spending time before choosing the right projects, as I was conscious about safeguarding the good name that film fetched for me. Even now, I don’t shoot more than one film at a time. I don’t commit myself to a new film before the release of my present one.”
As for the hard times, Arulnithi explains that it’s easy to tide by, given how kind and encouraging the audience has been towards him. “Every time I hear someone complimenting my choice of roles and scripts, it provides me with great assurance that I am heading in the right direction. My journey is aimed only at furthering this trust people have reposed in me.”
Quizzed about teaming up with another hero for the first time (in Kalathil Santhippom), Arulnithi replies, “All my films have been multi-starrers!” He points out that his films, from Vamsam to K 13, have always let other actors hog the limelight as well. “Be it Thagararu or Demonte Colony, other characters have enjoyed as much importance as mine. Sunaina had more theatre moments than I did in Vamsam. I want my films to be driven by their story; that's the only priority in my checklist.” He suggests that Kalathil Santhippom perhaps seems like a “proper double hero” film as the other lead is an established actor like Jiiva.
Arulnithi has also teamed up with YouTuber Vijay for an upcoming film, one that he is confident will surprise the audience. “It is a majorly fun college film but still has many twists and a solid message about feminism. The audience will be surprised to see that Vijay is able to make such a film.” He also clears the air around his long-pending Seenu Ramasamy film. “It is on hold for now; we might do it in the future. I am unsure when it will happen though.” The actor who will be returning to his home turf—thriller territory—with Diary, is today extremely cautious about choosing films in this genre. “I wake up to a new thriller script every day. Almost all the offers I get are from this genre. Recently, I was combing my hair in front of the mirror. My son jumped in fright and yelled, “Appa! Don't behave like your Demonte Colony character! " I wasn't even trying to look serious… Morachu morachu apdiye aiduchu mugam.”
Arulnithi aspires to get back to rural films soon. “I am waiting for a village-based film like Vamsam, but I am in no hurry to do one. My only concern is that it could end up being yet another thriller,” the actor signs off, laughing.