Arya has been part of the Tamil industry for around 13 years, having also done Telugu and Malayalam movies. His image, onscreen and off-screen, has garnered him a substantial fan base among the youth and women. The actor, who is a fitness freak, advocates cycling and running. Ahead of the release of Ghajinikanth on August 3rd, the composed and unassuming actor spoke to us about being in talks for a boxing film, how he handles failure and more:
You have worked with many experienced directors over the course of your career. What drew you to Ghajinikanth made by Santhosh P Jayakumar, who is only two films old?
I made a quick decision to do this film. It's no mean feat to pull off a film with just six to seven days of pre-production. Santhosh has an effortless, casual style of shooting and has the calibre to handle experienced actors. I call him SPJ (laughs). All credit to him for his clear planning and scheduling and for making sure that our dates weren't wasted. Ultimately, a film is a director's baby. How it is shaped, depends on the way he accepts inputs from his actors. Ghajinikanth will be a Boss, Raja Rani kind of breezy film.
SPJ's first two films, Hara Hara Mahadevaki and Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuthu, caused a huge stir when they released. How do you see the adult comedy genre which has takers as well as naysayers?
I saw both these films. Though they were A-rated, there was nothing visually vulgar or obscene or overtly glamorous about them. The mood, situations and dialogues were bold and out of the box. Adult comedy is a genre which is popular in other industries; people pay and watch those movies for fun. Not many people take up such films here. He had the guts to do two such films and also took them to so many viewers in terms of the box-office reach. Not all 'A' rated films run.
With such films, you have to always be a step ahead of the times. The dialogues have to be youthful and trendy. What was done in the 90s can't be repeated now. Current issues have to be infused into the film's comedy quotient. One has to be up to date. These films have to deliver more than the memes we enjoy on social media. SPJ thinks in a forward manner and that's why these two films made it big.
You've seen your share of ups and downs. How do you handle failure?
Ups and downs are part of any career. No one intends to make a flop film. There is always a concrete reason why the audience's expectations weren't met. One can't blame the audience. If a film doesn't run, something didn't click obviously and we just have to analyse, learn from mistakes and not repeat them. One has to look at the positives from each film and not get bogged down or depressed just because a film didn't click. We need to keep working. Every film is a new project and a new effort.
You've always been game to take up multi-starrers, such as Arrambam and Raja Rani. Suriya 37 with director K.V.Anand seems to be one more such outing for you.
A film is about its characters. If it has just a single hero, it won't run. But directors need to be capable enough to handle multi-starrers for this genre to thrive.
Coming to Suriya 37, we started off with the London schedule recently. It was a complete surprise call and I took it up without any second thoughts, as it is a huge opportunity to share the screen space with so many established actors like Suriya sir, Mohanlal sir and Boman Irani. It will be a new experience. It's a prestigious feeling to be a part of it.
I also have director Ameer's Santhanadevan and Sundar C's Sangamithra, both of which are large in scope and require big budgets.
Despite being a popular film actor, you recently made your television debut with the much-talked about marriage reality show, Enga Veettu Mappillai. How do you see such alternative mediums and the booming web series space?
TV is a powerful medium and can't be underestimated. Unlike cinema, where people need to pay and 'pull' our content in theaters, TV is something where we literally 'push' our way into millions of households. The reach was phenomenal and more than I ever expected.
Web series are the future. If you are a movie star, you can't be stubborn and stick with just cinema. TV is huge, people are watching movies on mobile apps now, it's about 360 degree entertainment. Web series is the next big step and it's good to see heavy budgets being pumped into this platform now.
Being a sports aficionado, doing a sports film seems like a natural extension for you
As reported recently, I'm in talks for a boxing film, to be directed by Aramm fame Gopi Nainar. I love sports films and would love to do more of them. I myself can't go ahead with such films as I'm not a talented writer (laughs). Director – writers need to come up with such scripts.
Looking back, which are the films which you dearly hold close to your heart?
Raja Rani, Madrasapattinam, Naan Kadavul, Boss Engira Baskaran, Arindhum Ariyamalum, Ullam Ketkume, Pattiyal.