Sakka Podu Podu Raja will be a rip-roaring entertainer from start to end: Santhanam

Surendhar MK

Dec 16, 2017 16:51:51 IST

Ever since Santhanam made his debut as a comedian in Simbu’s Manmadhan in 2004, he has been one of the busiest, in-demand actors in Tamil cinema. From 2005 to 2016, he has had a minimum of five releases and a maximum of 15 releases each year. However, Sakka Podu Podu Raja, which is slated to hit screens on 22 December, is his first film in 2017. He was seen in a brief guest appearance in Enakku Vaaitham Adimaigal which released in February this year. 2017 is technically Santhanam’s longest no-show on screen in his 13-year-long career.

After starring with actors across the board in Tamil film industry — including the likes of Rajinikanth, Vijay, Ajith, Suriya, Dhanush, Simbu and others — Santhanam is now fully focused on films where he plays the lead role. “I’m quite bored of the monotonous comical roles I did where I would play Cupid or make fun of the hero's friends. I simply can't quit cinema, so I decided to take it further. I do humour even in the films where I appear as a lead hero. But it is different. So, I have decided not to act as a supporting comedian to any hero henceforth.”

Santhanam in the poster for Sakka Podu Podu Raja

Santhanam in the poster for Sakka Podu Podu Raja

During his heydays as a comedian, Santhanam didn’t care much about his looks. But, now he says he is very conscious about how he looks. “Changing your look is not an easy thing. It has to suit you. Just a change in the beard or moustache gives a whole new look. For any character I do, my directors would give reference looks, and I will work it out. For Sakka Podu Podu Raja they gave me references to Hollywood pop stars, and that's how the look was decided. After becoming a hero, the expectations of fans have also changed. To fulfill them, I have worked a lot on my action and dance,” he said.

Santhanam’s comedy sequences that leave the audiences in splits are down to team effort. Explaining the process of writing, he says, “I have a team of writers who give creative inputs for the comical roles. They have been with me from the Lollu Sabha days. Everyone used to give his counters, and we would pick the best one that is relatable to audiences and suits pop culture. There would be no specific lines for me in the dialogue sheets, and directors would mostly insist that I deliver punchlines spontaneously. My writing team helped me immensely... And many of them are now getting ahead as directors, like GL Sethuraman who is directing Sakka Podu Podu Raja, Murugan Anand who directed my film Inimey Ippadithaan...”

Santhanam was the first prominent contemporary actor who forayed into feature films from the small screen. Talking about the rise of the trend in recent times, he said, “It's a good sign that people from small screen are finding acceptance in the industry. When I stepped into cinema, some people tried to dampen my hopes because of my television background, and Lollu Sabha. But I succeeded and gained the acceptance of audiences with sheer hard work. It was happening in Hollywood and Bollywood too. But it's new to Kollywood. It feels really good to see talent like Sivakarthikeyan, Priya Bhavani Shankar and Robo Shankar achieve remarkable success on the big screen."

Interestingly, both Santhanam and Sivakarthikeyan ventured into the film industry after a long stint on Vijay Television. Ask if there’s any competition between the two since Siva’s Velaikkaran is also scheduled to release on 22 December, Santhanam says, “I won't call it a competition between Sivakarthikeyan and me. It’s rather between our films. It's a festive time and much like a treat for the audience. Competition is certainly healthy as long as there's no room for envy.”

Talking about Sakka Podu Podu Raja, Santhanam says, “It will be a rip-roaring entertainer for audiences where you will laugh out loud from start to end. With five comedians on board, the film is definitely going to be a barrel of laughs. There will be fresh scenes between Vivek sir, Robo Shankar and me. Thambi Ramaiah, VTV Ganesh and Power star all have considerable screen space throughout the film.”

Produced by VTV Ganesh, Sakka Podu Podu Raja has Marathi actress Vaibhavi Shandilya playing the lead heroine. The movie also marks the music composing debut of actor Simbu aka STR.

Updated Date: Dec 16, 2017 16:51:51 IST