Vijay as a teenager and a 70-year-old writer

Vijay as a teenager and a 70-year-old writer

The actor had to sport prosthetic makeup for almost 10 hours on some days

Sandalwood actor Vijay Raghavendra is known for going into the skin of every character he plays. In ‘Malgudi Days’, he pushed his boundaries and played an older man named Lakshmi Narayan Malgudi, a writer. While he was praised for his elderly look, he is also playing another avatar, a teenager in the film.

In a candid chat, he reveals more about the process of working on the film.

How challenging was it to play a teenager?
I had to lose around 19 kilos in 50 days. There was no shortcut to it, I had to stay away from my favourite cakes and chocolates and exercise. I wanted to look the part, and the director and production team were willing to wait for it. As for acting like an adolescent, all of us have gone through the phase. I am 40 years old now, so playing a teenager was fun. Working on the body language and achieving a teenager’s energy level was a task. The director’s guidance was helpful.  

Do you want to work on more such roles now?
I never thought I could do this but the films’ team encouraged me to pull it off. The actor in me might want to do a little more if I’m given the opportunity. 

Was the older character challenging to pull off?
Yes, absolutely! The younger character is a part of the flashback, but it’s my character’s older self that largely makes the film. I had to sit for four hours to get the prosthetic makeup right. The makeup was supposed to be on for only five to six hours, but we would stretch the shoot for to up to 10 hours on some days. This is the first time I was going through something so challenging. The prosthetic makeup by Roshan was quite realistic.  

Does the film’s name have a connection with the popular namesake TV series?
Apart from the title, we have not taken anything from the series. The series is a big label. The moment we think of it, we remember ourselves from the time. The title is attached to nostalgia, hence, the name.

After playing Malgudi, how have things changed for you as an actor?
The role taught me a lot of patience; sitting for makeup for that long was quite taxing. I have also developed an inclination for reading, which I never had before. The character had to resemble someone who has read a lot. The way a writer puts things across or looks at relationships and situations is different.
Every time I work on a character, it teaches me something different and makes me realise what I can do. I have always wanted to work on a spastic person’s role.

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