Kavin: Lift was a litmus test
The actor talks about his recent Disney+Hostar release, transitioning from TV to films, and more
Over the decades, we have seen a clear demarcation in the audience’s consumption of television and cinema. We barely saw TV stars become saleable superstars in cinema. The past decade or so, however, has paved the way for multiple transitions from one medium to another. Interestingly, after the rise and rise of Sivakarthikeyan, the TV to cinema route has become a legitimate route to stardom in Tamil cinema. The advent of reality shows has further legitimised this possibility. From his stint in television serials to his stay at the Season 3 of Kamal Haasan-hosted Bigg Boss Tamil, actor and TV personality Kavin developed a dedicated fan base even before the release of his first big film. "Before Bigg Boss, I used to follow a lot of directors and producers for a chance, and I continued this even after. But it was Vineeth Varaprasad who approached me with Lift," says Kavin.
Despite Lift being only his first film post-Bigg Boss, the hype around the project on social media, if I can use the word, was unreal. Even random tweets with the Kavin hashtag got attention due to the actor's dedicated fanbase. Does Kavin realise the stardom he seems to enjoy on social media? "Fans is a big word for someone like me. I see them as my friends. Just like how my real-life friends wanted me to win Bigg Boss when I entered the house, it was the audience who kept me there week after week. Aren't they friends too then?"
However, Kavin's fans... I mean, friends, feel the actor isn't spending enough time on social media. "Honestly, seeing their support, I developed a sense of responsibility and fear. The only way I can reciprocate unconditional love is by doing my work properly. So, I am concentrating only on working and giving them a reason to continue liking me," says Kavin.
Having started out in small cameos (Pizza, Indru Netru Naalai), and supporting roles (Sathriyan), and now, finally branching out to doing films as one of the leads (Natpuna Enna Theriyuma), Kavin has a lot riding on Lift. "Before Lift, I always had other actors in the film with whom I shared responsibilities. Lift was almost like a litmus test for me. If the audience believes they can see me alone for two hours straight, it means I am on the right path," feels the actor, who recently wrapped up a web series, Akashvaani, and has a few other projects under wraps.
While talking about the film and his attempt to cement his stardom, Kavin has no qualms referring to the impact of Sivakarthikeyan in his life."It is his rendition for ‘Inna Mylu’ that acted as a curtain-raiser for the film. Personally, I wanted Siva anna to sing for me, and the moment he heard that song, he was on board. My neighbourhood kids call me ‘Inna Mylu’ mama. It is purely Siva anna's reach that helped me enter their hearts."
Kavin on Bigg Boss 5 contestants
All of us chart our own paths, make our own mistakes, and learn our own lessons. There is nothing I can tell them that they don't already know about themselves. All I can tell them is... all the best.
This process of reaching into audiences' hearts is a constantly evolving path, something Kavin is aware of. "It is a long process. There isn't one template to find success. How far our attempts take us depends on other factors too," says Kavin, who harbours mixed feelings about the film missing out on a release in theatres.
"When I starred in a small role in Pizza, I took all my friends to the theatres and saw it 4-5 times. For beginners like me, theatres are very important. It helps us gauge the reactions of the audience. We get to know what makes them laugh, what makes them applaud... But the pandemic is still out there, and I understand why the makers chose OTT now," says the actor, who chose an interesting strategy to remain in the minds of his audience when Lift’s original release plans got deferred.
Kavin, like many of his peers in the social media generation of stars like Ashwin and Rakshan, chose to do a music video for an independent song. The ‘Asku Maaro’ song featuring him and Teju Ashwini went viral on social media and provided him a new avenue to reach his audience. "I wanted to give something to my audience and friends. It showed them that I can dance, and I can entertain. What else can I do to reciprocate their love but to... well... give them one more reason to continue liking me?" signs off Kavin.