Vijay Sethupathi said yes to Oh My Kadavule even before asking for the story: Ashok Selvan


But your subsequent films, 144 and Savaale Samaali bombed at the box office. We catch Ashok Selvan in a thoughtful and chatty mood as his romcom, Oh My Kadavule, is hitting the screens today. I was overwhelmed by the response and in fact, my phone didn’t stop ringing for days. The film was a massive hit. He’s the most chilled out person I’ve worked with. I essay the role of a chef, who’s about 100 kilograms. I had so much to learn from them and they are truly inspiring. (Laughs) That’s how I am. Ashok Selvan has turned producer with Oh My Kadavule. Oh My Kadavule also has Vijay Sethupathi and Gautham Menon playing cameos. I had to fight at each and every step. I don’t seek validation anymore. When I ventured into films, I knew nothing. Friends listened to the scripts and shared their views, too. I come from a humble background and I didn’t know how to approach people—let alone speaking with them. Anyone can act, but what matters is being here for a long time, and doing quality work that withstands the test of time. These were the things I had always believed in but never had a chance to do. I suck at handling people, and I can’t thank Abhinaya enough for being a rockstar that she is! What are your future plans? Such films need not be commercially viable always, but I enjoy the process. Agreed, it is difficult to say what will work and what will not. Since I came on board as one of the producers, I had a free hand to execute my thoughts. The actor does not want to be “Kootathil Oruthan” (just another face in the crowd.) He takes cinema seriously and loves experimenting with everything that comes his way. Written by S Subhakeerthana
| Chennai |

Published: February 14, 2020 11:20:01 am

Ashok Selvan and Vijay Sethupathi in a still from Oh My Kadavule. We knew we were making something good. How did Oh My Kadavule materialise? © IE Online Media Services Pvt Ltd

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Ashok Selvan

Vijay Sethupathi Every failure taught me something. For example, a section of critics had issues with the second half of Kootathil Oruthan, but I believed in the film. I only pick projects that excite me as a performer—something that drives me, something that motivates me. Oh My Kadavule is very different… I haven’t done a film like this where I have completely surrendered myself. That’s the film industry for you, and I learned it the hard way. Everyone makes mistakes, and that’s how you learn. Also read: Oh My Kadavule is a special film in my career: Ritika Singh
Give us an example. I have 5-6 incomplete scripts. These things would drive me mad. Today, there are many platforms like TikTok to achieve fame. It’s not about the ‘result’, but the ‘process’. My sister Abhinaya, who’s optimistic to a fault, suggested that we produce the content we wished to see, and that’s how everything started. I want my body of work to be impressive and versatile. You seem comfortable taking risks. He is an excellent actor and has a terrific sense of humour. They say nice things to your face, but they aren’t what they seem to be. He was a huge fan of James Bond. But I realised, it’s like home. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
For all the latest Entertainment News, download Indian Express App. There is an unmistakable sincerity when Ashok Selvan speaks. He is aware that he never fits into the conventional definition of a hero. We decided that we would produce this one. It actually differs from one film to the other. Directed by Priyadarshan sir, it is made on a Rs 100 crore budget. I knew it was a huge favour, but he immediately obliged to play an extended cameo. I used to attend multiple auditions, but eventually, only a producer’s son or a director’s cousin would be zeroed in on for a role. We had acting workshops, script reading sessions and focus group discussions. Abhinaya and I pushed Ashwath to write several drafts and it was more of teamwork where everyone sat across and bounced off ideas. I want to surprise the audience with such films and get them talking. Now, I’ve accepted this is how it works. I like to watch them, but I don’t like to shoulder them. Any hero needs commercial success, and that’s most important of all. Direction is certainly on the cards. You are being refreshingly honest. I know only films, and I belong to this place. I did another film, which didn’t do well. You started your career in 2012, and we are in 2020 now. I don’t regret doing any film in particular, but when you make a different kind of cinema, it takes time for audiences to warm up to it. I was in class 12 when I caught the film for the first time, and I couldn’t get it out of my system for a week. (Laughs) But, I am past that stage. It’s an experimental film, and I am confident that it will work with the audience. It was one of the most powerful and originally told movies of that time. Someday, he wanted to see me become an actor, and it’s unfortunate that he passed away the same day I started shooting for Thegidi. Sometimes, I don’t sleep. I am attracted to such offbeat projects. Nothing was going right, and it was an extremely frustrating phase. Though I knew Vijay Sethupathi anna from Soodhu Kavvum days, I was apprehensive to approach him for my film. Ashwath Marimuthu, a long-time friend, came up with this rom-com script that my sister loved. I am not a people pleaser. But I love what I am doing. Ani and I share a good rapport with each other. Filmmakers like Priyan sir are a delight to work with as they are secure directors, and give so much space and freedom to actors to perform. 📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Everyone does loud films, but they don’t interest me. I don’t shy away from trying a variety of roles. The same people who called me didn’t even bother to attend calls when I reached out to them. As for Gautham sir, he made things easy. Also, it’s a joy to observe him on the sets. I had strangers congratulating me, and I didn’t know how to handle it. I made peace with the past and moved on. To cut a long story short—you are only as good as your last success. I am making my Telugu debut with Ani Sasi’s film, which has Nithya Menen and Ritu Varma, as well. Paruthiveeran! When I am confident about a film, I keep checking Twitter for overseas reports and updates. Thegidi was commercially successful, I knew it would be. Truth be told, I contemplated leaving the cinema. At the same time, I don’t diss ‘good’ commercial films. So everything works only on the trial and error basis. Let’s see what the future has in store. I don’t come from a film background and I didn’t get anything on a platter. An actor of his stature needn’t have done this. What has changed and what hasn’t? I was almost out of work three years ago. If it was a bad one, well, I try not to get affected too much. Ashwath had written the role only having Sethu anna in mind. A couple of films that were supposed to begin got shelved. Without any pressure, we worked on Oh My Kadavule, and it gave me a creative high. Even before asking for the story, he said ‘yes’, and that meant a lot to me. To be honest, my parents don’t watch television, but my grandfather was an avid movie buff. Also, I am a sucker for films like Super Deluxe. I am no longer an angry person. You know what is unfortunate… You are a capable actor, and you know you can offer so much to the industry, but there is no way to give. I never was. Further, I play the villain in Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham. Follow us on Telegram for the latest Entertainment news
Tell us about your upcoming projects. You can roam about for many days, but you have to return. Excerpts from an interview:
Let’s start from Soodhu Kavvum (2012). What goes on in your mind before every release? Now, I am capitalising on my strengths, and things are working to my advantage. It’s a pleasure to collaborate with like-minded people, who are open to taking in suggestions and feedback. I put on 20 kilos extra for the role—courtesy—plates of biryani, bottles of beer and chocolates. Though he didn’t know English, he caught all detective films in the theatre.