Vijay Antony’s last release as an actor was the 2019 film Kolaigaran, an action thriller. He returns as an actor and editor with Kodiyil Oruvan, directed by Anandha Krishnan. In this interview with Baradwaj Rangan, he talks about how he chooses his scripts through a simple thought process and why he was forced to take a risk and switch to acting from music. Edited Excerpts…
When people talk about you, they say that you have a strong sense of story. What did you feel was strong in Kodiyil Oruvan?
My thinking is very ordinary. When we were at school and watched films, we’d say whether a film is good or bad in a very simple way. The audience watches one show of a film and conveys their assessment of the film. They don’t analyze deeply why they liked a film, say, based on ideas about the placement of songs or fights. They watch a film and then either just like it or they don’t. I’m such a person too.
I don’t have any special tastes or benchmarks. Because I know a bit of music and editing, I can imagine the visuals to some extent when I’m hearing the story. As a member of the audience, I decide whether I like the film or not. What was special about Kodiyil Oruvan was that it was commercial. More than the story, I believe a lot in the screenplay.
I liked the way the protagonist goes through challenges and overcomes them through the course of the film. It was also commercial. More than critical acclaim, I felt it would entertain people. There are interesting values and emotions in the film. And it was different from my earlier films. So, I decided to do it.
Do you remember the exact moment when you wanted to be an actor?
I was doing music but I had a lot of fear in me. Even though music is an artform, the music in films is a trade. I didn’t have anyone to advise me, and so I was only doing small films at one point. Even then, I’d eventually get only half the payment. Also, I’d make good tunes but directors would give me arbitrary suggestions. I’d be very sensitive to such creative suggestions.
Even before I had done big films like Vettaikaaran and Velayudham, I was insecure. I was always stressed even though I was working sincerely. I kept feeling that nothing big was happening even though I was sincere. So, I wanted to do something else where I could focus all my work for myself. So, blindly I decided to act.
So, you never wanted to become a hero?
Not at all. I came to Chennai to become a music director. I realized that music is an ocean. Rahman sir’s studio was only a few streets away, and I’d wonder if I might even be able to get a peek into it. Because I didn’t know the fundamentals of music, people didn’t take me seriously. Slowly, I bought a keyboard and started teaching myself. Similarly, I had a blind belief inside myself and took a huge risk when I became an actor.