I Believe My Characters Exist. They Are Not Imaginary: Vijay Sethupathi

There was a wall that was separating me from Shilpa. I just couldn't break that wall
I Believe My Characters Exist. They Are Not Imaginary: Vijay Sethupathi

It's three days before the release of Super Deluxe and we're all very excited about the film. But let's talk about your acting process. I asked Thiagarajan Kumararaja about your role in the film and he told me he had first shot a schedule which had to be stopped midway. And later, when the schedule resumed, you had to shoot the same scenes for a second time. Kumararaja feels your performance was more feminine and that you had better understood the character the second time. What happened in between to bring about this transformation?   

The first schedule was very scary for me. There was Kumararaja, PC Sreeram sir and then Shilpa, my character. How do I play such a character? That got me very nervous. It usually just takes two or three days for me to get a character. But I just couldn't get the hang of it this time. I just couldn't get Shilpa. I could sense that I was still being me. I had worn the saree, the wig, but there was still this wall separating me from her and I just couldn't break it. I was depressed. I think everyone could sense that something was missing in my performance but couldn't place a finger on what was wrong. So when he called for a schedule break, I was worried it was because of me. I asked him if he was going to change me. It's a fear all actors have. It's not just about what the director says but you know inside that you're not doing justice to the role and you can't cheat yourself. I remember traveling with him after he called for the break and made him promise me that he will not replace me with any other actor.

But on the second schedule, I remember wearing the wig and the saree and Madhi's (the costume designer) sunglasses and going to the set. We kept trying a shot and it was just not working out. That's when Madhi asked me to walk with my feet close together. He also fixed my posture. That's when something just clicked. The character slowly started forming after that. I see it as Shilpa's own doing. She must have waited until I sort things out to become a part of me. I believe my characters exist in reality. They interact with me and I don't think they are imaginary.

Watch the complete interview tomorrow.

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