Chiyaan Vikram on Saamy Square, Mahavir Karna, and his son's debut with Tamil remake of Arjun Reddy
2003's Saamy remains one of the milestones of Chiyaan Vikram's career. Its prequel, Saamy Square has now been released.
Although Chiyaan Vikram has been part of several performance-oriented big-banner projects, Saamy (directed by Hari) remains one of the milestones of his career. It was a trendsetter in the genre of cop films, before Hari delivered another blockbuster through Singam in the same genre. Saamy counted Vikram's commanding screen presence, mass appeal and commercial success among its achievements. Now, 14 years after Saamy hit screens, Saamy Square — written as a proper sequel to the 2003 superhit — has opened in theatres on 21 September 2018, and received lukewarm reviews.
"I met director Hari during the screening of his debut film Thamizh starring Prashanth and Simran. I liked the organic treatment of the characters in that film. It was after watching the film I asked if he had any lines ready. He narrated the story of Saamy, and I was highly impressed," Vikram recalled in an interview with a few members of the press.
"I had done a cop role in Kaaval Geetham earlier, and my father felt that I don't look strong enough for a police officer. He asked me not to do cop roles. But after Saamy's narration, I was so excited and was pretty sure of doing it. Later it turned out to be a cult film in that genre, and even now there is a segment of audiences who name Saamy as the best film in my career. I was happy that my father changed his opinion after watching Saamy. Reciting a punchline from the film in the silver jubilee celebration, even Rajini sir said he wanted such a role for himself," reminisced Vikram about Saamy's blockbuster success and the impact it had in his career.
Produced by Shibu Thameens under the banner Thameens Films, Saamy Square marks the first-ever collaboration between Vikram and Keerthy Suresh. "Keerthy is a good friend, and I always used to pull her leg on set. I admired her performance in Mahanati; it was pretty challenging for someone as young as her to do the biopic of Savitri ma'am. It requires a lot of experience and insight into acting, but she did a fantastic job. My son and daughter who are born into a different generation could witness the eminence of Savitri ma'am; they Googled her after watching the biopic. Keerthy has a good sense of humor in real life too. Saamy Square has comic tracks between Soori and her," said Vikram.
Showering praise on Hari, Vikram said, "His infectious energy and enthusiasm are quite unparalleled. He would never get tired and is always on his toes. I was very delighted to team up with him after a long time. Although we had decided long ago that we'd be doing a follow-up to Saamy, we waited for the right time and a proper plot."
About the versatile roles he has played in his career, Vikram said, "Whatever character I sign up for, I visualise it in my mind and try to match that image. People can name it method acting or whatever; I will always try to become that character on screen. In Irumugan, I played the characters Akhilan and Love — who are poles apart. While filming, if we were shooting Akhilan's portion, I would be that guy inside my mind even between shots. While doing Love's role, I would carry myself neatly and take care of (certain) mannerisms. Only when I do it my way, I would feel satisfied with my part in that film."
Vikram's son Dhruv Vikram is making his debut as lead hero with Varma, the Tamil remake of Telugu blockbuster Arjun Reddy. The shoot has wrapped up already, and dubbing is underway. Asked about Varma and his son's performance, Vikram said, "Dhruv is exactly like me. In his gait, voice and everything, one can always spot Vikram. So before Varma's shooting started, Bala sir and I told him that Vikram should pop up nowhere in the film [sic]. But then, it's difficult to be a different person altogether; here and there you can find shades of Vikram. Considering Dhruv's age, and the Tamil audiences, we have changed some portions of the original Arjun Reddy."
Vikram has recently started shooting for his next, an untitled project helmed by Thoongavanam director Rajesh Selva. The film is produced by Kamal Haasan's Raaj Kamal Films International and stars Akshara Haasan in an important role. "We are shooting in Malaysia. It's a stylish and fast-paced action film. Next, I have the trilingual film Mahavir Karna, which is being made on a whopping budget of Rs 300 crore. I play my favorite character Karna, and I feel blessed to portray the character on screen. There's a plan to dub Karna in 37 languages. That's my next challenge, and I can't even sleep thinking about the film and my character. I have not signed any film after that because I feel like taking a break. I don't want to join the herd but take up roles where the performance is of vital importance."
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