Vijay Sethupathi: I treat success and failure just the same

It’s largely the story. I believe it is the state of mind. Simple things are often tough to comprehend. Advertising

I am the same (Vijay Sethupathi) in every film. For a long time, I tried keeping my family—particularly my son and daughter—away from stardom and films. He is like my brother. (Smiles)

Comment(s) How easy or tough is it to “move on” and treat both success and failure just the same as you mentioned? I think life lessons are more important than grades and marks. I am not a bad actor, okay? I enjoy being a character. When you start living it, you internalise how that character thinks, behaves and responds. And it reflects in your work. What’s the most rewarding thing about being Vijay Sethupathi? Advertising

Sindhubaadh is your third film with SU Arun Kumar after Pannaiyarum Padminiyum and Sethupathi. I knew the outline of Sindhubaadh even before he had narrated it to ten other actors. It’s not easy to explain the process. But as a father, I was apprehensive and told Arun to rethink—because my wife and I still thought he was not all that mature to handle fame and pressure as of yet. But your acting seems effortless. The better understanding you have of yourself, the easier it becomes. My daughter shouldn’t feel bad that I am letting only my son act, no? As an actor, I satisfy my director and give him what he wants. Naan avlo laam mokkai illa… (Laughs)

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The last time, in an interview with us, you told there was nothing called method acting. Sometimes, it is hard to tell why a film bombs. At the same time, I am conscious that I don’t overdo. See, acting is reacting. Bringing Surya on board was never my decision. (Smiles)

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In one of your early interviews, you said you weren’t “exactly concerned about numbers.”
Yes, I hold the same approach even today. Only I know how much effort I put in to make things look effortless. I share a special bond with him. Arun wanted to cast him after watching him in Naanum Rowdy Thaan and felt he would be apt for this role. Though I am an ardent fan of Ilaiyaraaja sir, I have a liking for Yuvan’s music. She plays a small role. With each film, I analyse as to what I could do differently from my previous outing so that the audience would enjoy. Your daughter is also a part of your next, Sangathamizhan. Tell us about working with your son, Surya. After the success of Sethupathi, Arun and I wanted to work together. Somehow, the project didn’t take off and I didn’t know why. I don’t know to imitate others. It has a beautiful emotional connect between the husband and wife characters. Adhu namba kaila enna iruku? Then, I myself thought of doing it. But it is necessary to be aware of what is happening around you. I suggested for an alternative—but Arun was stubborn that we retain him. I yelled at Surya, a couple of times on the sets, but Arun was patient. To be honest, Arun didn’t tell me the full story until I started dubbing for the film. Another reason I was excited for Sindhubaadh is Yuvan Shankar Raja. Yes, some of my films have been average grossers, but they were not terrible. My films mean more to me than the numbers. Enaku adhellam varaadhu; theriyadhu. (Grins)


As a parent, were you not bothered about his studies? All these were my learnings—the result of my seeking and questioning. I choose a film, act and move on. What makes you pick up a script and reject another? I make it a point to understand my characters’ intentions and their ways of looking at life. Surya likes Arun and it’s vice-versa. I tell him life is beyond books and classrooms.