With six films in various stages of production, Kalaiyarasan clearly has no “after hours” at present.
He grins when questioned about juggling work and family. “My wife demands a lot of updates when I’m away working,” says the 32-year-old actor who plays an army veteran in Nayanthara’s Airaa. “I’m not an overtly romantic or expressive person in real life, so it is even more of a struggle making it up to her.”
Edited excerpts from an interview:
Since we are on the subject, is it true that director Pa Ranjith shares your opinion (on romance)?
Anbu (in Ranjith’s Madras) is my most memorable role till date. But he has since told me I could have done better in the romantic sequences (laughs).
You have a rom-com lined up?
Titanic: Kadhalum Kavunthu Pogum is a rom-com. I have friends who tell me that I only do intense and serious roles, but I’m not that person in real life. They wanted me to play a casual guy but I’ve never got that kind of a script. As an actor, I need to fulfill all dimensions.
You play a no-nonsense character in this Friday’s Airaa.
I am an army veteran in his late thirties, who is calm-headed and has a mature understanding of the situations around him. Most of my scenes will be with Nayanthara’s character, Bhavani.
You have worked with many big stars — Rajinikanth, Surya and now, Nayanthara.
It is normal to feel hesitant when working with a big star, but Nayanthara is very supportive of her co-stars. When other artistes botched a scene and required a few more takes, she didn’t mind re-doing it. She was casual but highly professional.
Mugam and China are being shot now. I’ve finished shooting for Kuthiraivaal, with debutant director Manoj. I play the lead character who grows a tail.
It is an experimental, abstract film. I chose the script because it doesn’t fit the pattern of stories we see usually. It is not a comedy, though.
Kalaiyarasan’s fear of heights
- I was shooting in Chennai harbour for China and had a sequence where I had to jump from one container to another. I didn’t realise how high up it was until I climbed to the top, and jumped without safety ropes. I was terrified, yes, but managed to get it done.
Kalavu was released on a streaming platform. Thoughts?
I was a bit upset that Kalavu didn’t have a theatrical run, but it is better than never seeing it released. Digital platforms are a blessing for creators with experimental scripts to find an audience. This is the future.
Your survival tip for newcomers?
No role is too small. It doesn’t matter how many people watch your film in a theatre. People associated with cinema will always watch others’ work. The hard work will yield returns.
Matching up to Anbu from Madras…
Anbu was a life-changing role. But the fact is every other film of mine gets compared to Madras, and so I’m forced to find something better than Ranjith’s film. I feel pressure to break that notion.