SJ Suryah on success of Monster, delayed projects, and working with Amitabh Bachchan in Uyarntha Manithan

Raja Sekar

Jun 10, 2019 10:49:54 IST

SJ Suryah grabbed everyone's attention in the Tamil film industry with back to back blockbusters Vaali and Kushi, featuring reigning superstars of Tamil cinema, Ajith and Vijay. He also remade Kushi in Telugu with Pawan Kalyan and directed the Hindi version Khushi with Kareena Kapoor Khan and Fardeen Khan.

SJ Suryah on success of Monster, delayed projects, and working with Amitabh Bachchan in Uyarntha Manithan

SJ Suryah. YouTube

Talking to Firstpost, Suryah says, “I only used filmmaking as a tool to establish myself as an actor. Though I got plenty of offers to direct films, (I) kept aside all those projects and directed myself in the lead, in films like New and Anbe Aariyure. But when I started working with other directors, things did not work and I had to struggle a lot before regaining the confidence with films like Isai, IraiviMersalSpyder and now, Monster."

Monster is the first solo hit for Suryah in a long time. The film clashed with Sivakarthikeyan-starrer biggie Mr. Local and was declared a sleeper hit in the industry. Despite new releases like Suriya's NGK and Prabhu Deva-starrer Devi 2, Monster successfully completed 25 days in theaters across Tamil Nadu and still retains shows in major multiplexes in the prime cities.

Suryah admits that when he directed himself, he added glamour quotient and other commercial ingredients so that his films entered into the safe zone. “But the success of Monster has changed my perspective. As director Raju Murugan (Cuckoo, Joker) said, Monster has got a beautiful Zen philosophy. Though kids enjoy watching Monster, the film also conveys a much-needed message to the grownups. Monster’s director Nelson is a genuine soul and he remains honest in each and every step, which I think is one of the major reasons for the film’s success," he says.

Suryah says he will don the director’s hat only when he stops getting good stories from other filmmakers. “I always wanted to submit myself to other directors. In my life, I follow Bruce Lee’s popular quote — Don’t get set into one form; adapt it and build your own, and let it grow; be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. I don’t want myself to (be) stuck in one zone and hence, (I am) surrendering myself to the directors so they can do whatever they want and make me act in whatever characters they wish," adds the actor.

When asked whether he would continue playing a villain again, Suryah clarifies by saying “I won’t call my characters in Spyder and Mersal as mere villains. They have their own ideologies. If there is an antagonist with an ideology, audiences will get a high. Antagonists in Spyder and Mersal were obsessed with their ideologies. If directors approach me with such good characterisation, I’m game."

Recently, a section of media reported that Suryah agreed to play the baddie in actor Ajith’s new action thriller, to be directed by Vinoth of Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru-fame. But the Monster actor took to his Twitter page and clarified that he has immense respect for Ajith and Sridevi (whose suggestion led to this collaboration between Ajith and her producer-husband Boney Kapoor) but there is no truth in those reports. Interestingly, Boney, who presented the Hindi version of Suryah's Khushi, is bankrolling the Ajith-Vinoth film.

Talking about his two delayed projects — Nenjam Marapathillai, directed by Selvaraghavan, and Iravaakaalam with Maya and Game Over director Ashwin, Suryah says, “I think the success of Monster will help in the release of the other two films. Nenjam Marapathillai is the matured version of Selvaraghavan’s Kadhal Kondein whereas Iravaakaalam is a feel-good drama with international standards”.

Suryah has also completed the first schedule of his Tamil-Hindi bilingual Uyarntha Manithan or Tera Yaar Hoon Main. Uyarntha Manithan also got an endearing message. The film highlights the importance of human values and why materialistic gain is not as important as it appears. Amitabh (Bachchan) sir plays the titular role in the film," says Suryah.

“When director Tamizhvaanan approached me with the script, I told him clearly that I’ve just come out of the tomb so will agree only if the script is good," smiles the actor, who previously worked with the director in a film titled Kalvanin Kadhali, which had tanked at the box office.

“The script narrated by Tamizhvaanan was fantastic and he also told me that they can proceed only if Amitabh sir agrees to play the titular role. To our surprise, Amitabh sir loved the idea and immediately came on board. We have completed the first schedule with him and it’s indeed a memorable experience. Amitabh sir doesn’t think about the second take so he gives his best in the first take itself. Despite being in the industry for several years and achieved so many things in the industry, Amitabh sir acts like a newcomer. He thinks that there is no second chance in the shooting spot so always ensures to give his 100 percent attention in the first attempt itself," explains the actor, who is planning to release the film in January 2020. And if there is a delay, April is his second option.

When asked about the rumours on Amitabh walking out of the film, Suryah says, “It’s a small issue. I will be meeting Amitabh sir and make sure to resume the shoot with him soon. Tamizhvaanan and I faced a lot of hurdles in assembling Uyarntha Manithan but as a team, we stood together and completed the first schedule. So I’m quite confident of amicably solving the ongoing issue as well."

Updated Date: Jun 10, 2019 10:49:54 IST