Agent Tina aka Vasanthi: I feel like I have won the lottery
Background dancer Vasanthi, whose life has transformed on account of her performance as Agent Tina in the hugely successful Vikram, talks to us about the unexpected turn her career has taken
Ever since Vasanthi played the role of Agent Tina, a ruthless spy in the black squad of Kamal Haasan’s Vikram, her phone has been ringing non-stop. It has been over two weeks since the action thriller was released, and the praise continues to come her way. “My eyes welled up when I saw myself on screen for the first time. I did not expect to receive such loud claps for my turn as Agent Tina. Everybody recognises me with that name now. Even when I went to a petrol bunk, people appreciated me and took pictures with me,” says a visibly excited Vasanthi, who goes on to share that many actors, including Vijay, Dhanush, Karthi, Arya, Sivakarthikeyan, Anushka Shetty and Keerthy Suresh, called her to commend her performance.
Interestingly, Vasanthi has been a background dancer for over two decades, with dancing supposedly coming naturally to her from when she was a child. She followed in the footsteps of her big sisters, Vijaya and Shanthi, to become a dancer in the film industry. “I have toiled in the job for almost 25 years, and now, with this one opportunity, director Lokesh Kanagaraj has made me a familiar face. I can’t even describe what I’m feeling!” she says, and credits Dinesh master and actor Kamal Haasan too for this opportunity. “There has always been a fire inside me to do well. I thought my life would just go by, while I remain a dancer. I have always wanted to try my hand at acting, and now, Agent Tina has put me in the spotlight.”
Explaining how she landed the role, Vasanthi says, “I’ve been working as an assistant for Dinesh master for over twenty years. We did ‘Vaathi Coming’ song for Vijay-starrer Master. That was when we met Director Lokesh Kanagaraj and we all took a picture with him. He remembered me when writing Vikram and asked Dinesh master if I would act in the film. Master knew I have always been interested in acting. It means so much to me that I have acted in Kamal sir’s movie.” She then had to audition for the role, which included remembering dialogues, before she could be taken on board. “Initially, I was a bit afraid, but director Lokesh and his assistant directors made me comfortable, and guided me through the role and encouraged me,” she says.
Vasanthi shares that she wrapped up all of her scenes in 16 days, and notes that her experience as a dancer came in handy when filming the action sequences, which demanded that she rehearse for two days under the guidance of stunt choreographers, Anbariv. “As it was my first time doing stunts, I ended up hurting the stunt persons sometimes. I remember apologising quite a few times,” she admits.
The actor-dancer is profusely grateful to director Lokesh and is too moved to verbalise her elation. “He changed my name, with just one fork (referring to her action sequence involving a fork). It feels like I have won the lottery. Now, whenever I pick up a fork while eating with friends and colleagues, they jokingly ask me not to turn into Agent Tina,” she says, laughing.
If she has a minor regret, it is that her character gets killed off in Vikram. “I feel bad that when a sequel for Vikram gets made, I won’t be part of it. Had I been alive, that might have been a possibility.”
Vasanthi continues to work on her dance projects for the moment. “Positive comments have been pouring in for my role as Agent Tina. If any acting opportunities come knocking, I can guarantee I won’t let them go.”