Harish Kalyan: I don’t want to play stereotypical roles

Harish Kalyan discusses the reason behind choosing this story, his departure from conventional roles and his perspective on handling unforeseen circumstances
Harish Kalyan: I don’t want to play stereotypical roles

It is said that an effort to shift direction in one’s life is what lands the person in the right destination. Likewise, Harish Kalyan is slowly but steadily changing gears in his film career. The actor who debuted in 2010 with Sindhu Samaveli, had donned a slew of boy-next-door roles alongside romances in films like Pyaar Prema Kaadhal, Ispade Rajavum Idhaya Raniyum, Oh Manapenne! and his latest, Let’s Get Married. Now, Harish is all set to play the lead in the thriller Parking, by debutant Ramkumar Balakrishnan, which is slated to hit theatres on December 1.

Much like his off-screen life, the actor plays a married man who moves into a new house with his wife, played by Indhuja Ravichandran, while juggling multiple responsibilities.                          

Explaining the reason for choosing this script, Harish says, “When I finished reading the script, I understood that I would not be watching the film as a spectator, but will be a participant in it. Even the audience would feel the same way. Ram’s execution of the story has been perfect to the dot.”

Parking, true to its name, revolves around a fight over a common parking space where Harish Kalyan and MS Bhaskar are at loggerheads, struggling to claim stake of their prized possession — leading to nasty scuffles, breaking boundaries, cars and eventually their peace. Interestingly, Harish has had a similar experience in his childhood days. “We used to have dedicated spaces to park cycles. When someone had parked their cycle in my usual space, I decided to take it and keep it in a different place which happened to be my senior’s usual spot. He fought over this bitterly with me,” he recalls, adding that he sourced several articles online to research and understand the story better.

“Upon reading one such article, I found that three people who were roommates had a similar parking issue. When the conflict escalated, two of them conspired and murdered the third person. This is not a problem that is restricted to urban places, but can also be found in any part of the country,” he notes.

Harish believes that the root cause behind such clashes could be because that cars have become a necessity rather than a luxury, as viewed a few years ago. “The volume of cars hitting roads have tremendously increased over the years with several households having two or three bikes, depending on their utility. When you tell them that a person has scratched their car, they immediately get enraged,” he says, revealing that Parking will dive into such emotions and explore the ego clash between his character and MS Bhaskar’s. “The film goes on to unravel the repercussions of the strife and to what extent they would go to hold onto their ego in not letting go of the parking spot,” he adds.  

After Parking, Harish has Diesel, a commercial entertainer, directed by Shanmugam Muthusamy and a sports drama titled Lubber Pandhu, helmed by Tamizharasan Pachamuthu in the pipeline. With Harish taking several turns with his career choices, the actor notes that he has a checkbox that he ticks with every project he chooses. “Parking had a unique script, so I chose it. This was very different from my earlier films. I always had a wish to take up a rural-based film and I love cricket, which made me say yes to Lubber Pandhu,” he says.

For Harish, his choice of scripts also depends on the audience and their reactions. “LGM for instance, was not received well. There might have been a mishap in the storyline or the execution. It doesn’t mean I will avoid picking that similar genre again. While selecting scripts I also seek out some advice from well-wishers. I don’t want to take stereotypical roles. I’m taking efforts to break that image which is associated with me,” he shares.

Unforeseen circumstances are not new to the actor whose previous few films have either got unfavourable release dates or gone the OTT route. Even Parking was postponed from its initial release on September 28. Harish, however, is undeterred by these roadblocks. “Some of my films have started and then got dropped, while some were cancelled after the pooja ceremony. One of my films has been completed shooting, but is yet to see the light of the day. I can quote several instances, but I would like to dust it off and walk forward. If a film isn’t received well, we would have at least ten points to learn from it. Those lessons can be incorporated going forward.”  

Where does Harish envision himself in five years? “I want to take one film at a time, one year at a time,” he remarks. Well, it's a sentiment many of us can relate to, isn't it?

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