Totally driven by passion

Vijay Sethupathi's new movie 'Super Deluxe' is being hailed by a considerable number of film buffs as another cult classic.

VARIED Vijay Sethupathi

Actor Vijay Sethupathi has been consistently delivering hits at the box office. And looks like his latest film, Super Deluxe, which has been directed by Thiagarajan Kumararaja, is all set to keep that record intact. In fact, it is already being hailed by a considerable number of film buffs as another cult classic.

The multi-starrer has Sethupathi playing a transwoman, a character that not many top heroes would be willing to play. The actor opened up on a number of topics including the experience of playing Shilpa (his character from Super Deluxe), his life-changing experiences and his decision not to participate in the rat race for stardom in the film industry.  

How would you describe ‘Super Deluxe’?

With Super Deluxe, I have gained wisdom and love. The movie has been a life-changing experience.

Have you had any such life-changing days in real life?

Yes. It was the day I got my first offer to play a lead in a film. The offer was made at around 10 in the night and I was super excited. I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep. I woke up at 3.30 am, took a bath and was ready by 4. At 4.30, I was at the gym, which hadn’t opened. That film got dropped and with that, my idea of going to a gym also got dropped. I have a problem. When my excitement peaks and, someone kills it, I won’t get excited again.

In ‘Super Deluxe’, you play a transwoman. Did you accept this role immediately?

My decision to take up a character has nothing to do with its appearance. I took up this character because of the way it was written. A character’s essence is not in its get up or in its appearance. I was so full of admiration for the manner in which this character was written. Actually, director Thiagarjan Kumararaja has been saying in a few interviews that I listened to the script and then took a week to think about it before accepting it. That is a lie. Actually, when I listened to the script, I was so full of admiration for this script and the way the character was written that I begged Kumararaja to give it to me. He was the one who said, “Think about it and let me know in a week.” 

Tell us about the experience of playing Shilpa…

I would get up at around 4.30 am and it would take me one-and-a-half hours to wear the makeup for this character. My spine would hurt because I would have to change my posture completely to play this character. More than that, I could sense the emotional pain that pertains to the rejection that the character faces. Personally, I am someone who cannot sideline another human being. I am enraged when I see people who ostracise others.

People say that you are a wonderful actor who can okay a shot in its very first take…

For a long time, they have been cheating Tamil cinema by saying this — ‘Getting the shot okayed in a single take.’ It is not a big deal to get a shot okayed in a single take. When you love the art form, you are ready to give it your all. Through you, the character will decide when it has to arrive. You need to surrender yourself to the character and to art. I learnt that only from this character Shilpa. Initially, I was trying to work to a formula. It never worked. It only worked when I willing to surrender myself to the character. My job was not to make Thiagarajan Kumararaja okay a shot. My job was to do it as many times as it took to get it right. He would okay it when he felt that the character had arrived.

What rank do you think you hold in today’s industry?

I don’t think this is a race. We all need money to live, to survive, no second thoughts about that. In fact, that is what enables you to lead a dignified life to an extent. Therefore, I refuse to acknowledge that there is a race. I will gladly tell any such adversary that they have won the race and that I have lost it.

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