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Sivakarthikeyan: The success of Prince will foster more Tamil-Telugu collaborations- Cinema express

Sivakarthikeyan: The success of Prince will foster more Tamil-Telugu collaborations

Actor Sivakarthikeyan talks about experimenting with comedy, his inclination towards new directors, and his upcoming line-up of films

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Published: 19th October 2022

After a couple of successes in Doctor and Don, Sivakarthikeyan, with hopes of completing a hattrick of hits, awaits the Deepavali release of his new film, Prince. The actor, who seems noticeably thin, attributes it to the weight loss he underwent for a character he’s playing for an upcoming film called Maaveeran. Here’s ‘Prince’ Sivakarthikeyan discussing the film and how he continues to experiment within the confines of the comedy genre.

Excerpts:

Prince is your first-ever Deepavali release...

I grew up watching and savouring Deepavali releases. It's exciting now that my film is coming out during such a festival. A festival film is special, isn't it? Karthi sir's Sardar is coming out too, and I think it's nice that two films from different genres are getting released.

Though Prince isn't a bilingual, it's getting released in a significant number of theatres in the Telugu states. Do you feel any pressure to deliver with the Telugu audience as well?

We are releasing the dubbed film there. We shot Prince only in Tamil as we felt it would be better to concentrate on one version. Reports that we reshot certain scenes with other actors are untrue. Anudeep KV is known as a Telugu director and the advantage is that he has written the Telugu dialogues for this film. If there's a table profit for the producer, the pressure is off our chest, and then, there’s the question of how the audience will accept the film. Thankfully, Prince has already become profitable.

Prince is a collaboration between a Telugu director and a Tamil hero, and should this work out, it will be a win for both industries. It will also pave the way for many similar collaborations between actors and filmmakers from both industries.

How’s Prince different in comparison with a comedy like Don or Doctor?

Prince is simple and fun. It talks about humanity and the need for it in today's world. It has been a while since I made a fun film without villains, punch dialogues, introduction songs and violence. If the minds of those who watch this film feel a sense of ease and relaxation, that would be our success. In our comedies, we usually find relatable people retorting with counter dialogues, but Prince is about a village full of naive people, including the hero and his father. You remember that viral dialogue, "Indha mathiri sambavangal neraya nadanthuruku, aana idhu dhaan first time"? We have gone for this style of humour in this film, and I attribute this desire to experiment to the success of Doctor. My next film with Madonne Ashwin is another example of that. The humour in Prince will be similar to the director's popular Telugu film, Jathi Ratnalu. He aces this style of humour where silliness is told seriously.

Is it true that you and the female lead, Maria, play teachers in the film?

Yes, I play a social studies teacher and she (Maria Ryaboshapka) plays an English teacher. It's a love story between a Cuddalore guy and a Pondicherry girl. Just like we write our lines in 'Tanglish' to memorise them, Maria wrote her lines in Ukrainian to get the diction right. Her lip sync was perfect and shows her commitment. As English isn't her primary language, her approach to dialogues was rather similar to ours. Both of us would communicate in whatever English we know. Avanga sonnathu enaku purinjichunu avanga nenachipaanga, naa sonnadhu avangaluku purinjichunu naan nenachipen.

Your fans call you ‘Prince’, and recently, in the song, ‘Private Party’ (Don) that you wrote, there’s a line that goes, 'Darling prince-ay'… Is all this acknowledgement from you about this title?

We named this film Prince because we couldn't find another title (laughs). We considered a number of titles. We wanted to name the film something that would be about teachers, but we were worried people would take it too seriously. Fans have been calling me ‘Prince’ on Twitter, and so, we thought we would go with it, considering that the heroine has a British connection as well.

As for ‘Private Party’, Don's director Cibi Chakravarthy forced me to write those lines (laughs). I didn't realise then that it would end up becoming the title of my next film. It's nice to know that my fans call me so, but I don't think I will want to add it before my name in the opening credits.

You seem to have a preference for one-film old directors, give that you have worked with PS Mithran (Hero), Nelson (Doctor), Anudeep (Jathi Ratnalu)… and your next films are with Madonne Ashwin (Mandela) and Rajkumar Periasamy (Rangoon).

It's exciting to work with new directors as they are new to the industry and they want to tell stories that haven't been told before. They would have also seen me as a hero from the outside and would have interesting perspectives on how to present me in a different manner. If that idea excites me equally, I say yes. This isn’t to suggest that I’m not keen on working with experienced filmmakers. Those projects are in the pipeline as well.

Among your upcoming films, it’s suggested that there’s one about the biopic of cricketer Natarajan. Is that true?

I don’t have any confirmation about the cricket film yet. Films or otherwise, Natarajan and I are in constant touch. He has told me that he will let me know when the time is right for such a project. My next release is Maaveeran, followed by Ayalaan. After that, I will work with Rajkumar on a film produced by Kamal Haasan sir and Sony Pictures. Maaveeran too has a small fantasy element to it, and Ayalaan, as you might know, is a full-on fantasy film that’s planned for release next summer. Adhuku adutha padatha pathi, Maaveeran meet appo solren (laughs).

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