Vishnu Vishal: FIR will be the best film of my career for now
Vishnu Vishal, who plays a prominent role in Rana Daggubati’s recently-released Kaadan, speaks to CE about the multilingual, his future projects, and more
“I am moving out of ‘that’ apartment due to the whole fiasco with ‘the’ neighbour, that’s why I had to arrange for these interactions here,” says Vishnu Vishal as he welcomes me inside his suite in The Park to talk about his multilingual, Kaadan, which was released on Friday. Directed by Prabhu Solomon, Kaadan has Rana Daggubait in the titular role and Vishnu Vishal in one of the supporting roles, which the Ratsasan star doesn’t hesitate to call ‘second fiddle’.
This self-awareness of his place in the industry coupled with his strong intent to constantly step-up his game was evident all through the conversation that also touched upon his upcoming films, and the struggles of being a producer during these trying times.
Excerpts from the interview:
You did a supporting role in the unreleased film Idam Porul Eval back in 2013, and now, after churning out hits like Ratsasan, did you not have any qualms about doing one again?
Even if I am part of a film with multiple actors, I tell myself I am the hero of it. Take Neerparavai, for example, it had commendable performers like Nandita Das, Sunaina, and Samuthirakani, but my role stood out. That’s how I go about choosing my projects. I don’t have to be the protagonist, but my role should be one that’s spoken about.
Even Prabhu Solomon wondered if I would be ‘okay’ to take up a supporting character. I told him Kaadan would not jeopardise my career. I love being a part of good films, and this also has a much-needed takeaway about nature and how elephants are important for the forest and us. In addition to that, it also happens to be my Telugu launch. I am glad to be doing such meaningful roles.
How unique was the Kaadan experience?
Not many actors would get to work with elephants! I got to know about the majestic beasts and the role they play in sustaining the equilibrium of the forest. If elephants are to go extinct, the forests will follow suit. Apart from such learnings, working with actors and technicians from the Hindi and Telugu industries was another new experience for me.
Netru Indru Naalai, Maaveeran Kittu, Jeeva... looking at your filmography, your intention to do something unique with every other film seems clear.
I've tried to do films in different genres. It is an immensely painful process. I had to wait for at least a year to find the right script because I could only work around a certain budget. Now, I have progressed to the next rung. So, in place of one script a year, I have gotten hold of five scripts. It is a deliberate process. That’s how I landed Ratsasan. No one believed I could pull off such a role. Now, I can claim that FIR, my upcoming project, will be the best film of my career yet. I don’t make such claims easily.
What is FIR about?
I gravitate towards films that are based on real-life incidents. FIR is based on many such true stories. It is the story of a wrongly-accused Muslim guy and his life struggles. My best friend is a Muslim, and I wanted to do the film as a tribute to him. There is a wrong notion about the community that prevails in society. This film is an attempt to break it.
Films that involve Islam and terrorism have been criticised for being islamophobic…
Yes, we were aware of that aspect while making FIR. It will no way offend the community. In fact, we haven’t taken a stand or ‘told’ a message with the film. FIR will just project the reality that we live in. Once you watch the film, you will know it means well.
What about your other upcoming film, Mohandas?
Every guy who has the name ‘Mohandas’ is not a Gandhi, that’s the underlying message of that film. It is an investigative murder thriller about a psycho. I play the anti-hero in it. So, this time around, I am the Ratsasan.
You are producing FIR and Mohandas. How tough is it to be a producer in such trying times?
It is very tempting to release these films on OTT. But I got where I am through theatres and I want my films to be seen on the big screen. Enakkunu oru saththu iruku. With that, I will try my best to hold on to the films for theatrical release.