Bollywood Couch founder Jutikaa Mahanta in conversation with South Super Star Arvind Swami who is better known for films like Roja, Bombay etc. The evergreen star had a topsy-turvy journey when it comes to his filmy career. Here it goes:
1.Your tryst with acting. Please elaborate
AS: Director Maniratnam discovered me accidently.
I was studying during those days and I had developed some bad habits which could not be covered by my pocket money so I had to take some modelling assignments to earn some extra bucks.
I used to earn 2-3 grands easily through modelling assignments which was quite a good money as student that time.
Mani Ratnam spotted me and called me for audition and rest is history !!!
2.You are known as Mani Ratnam’s Poster Boy” what’s your take on that.
AS: I am glad to be one. At the same time it’s quite tough to work with director like Mani Ratnam.
We have very good chemistry, a cosmo- connect and it works.
As an actor its quite difficult to satisfy him.
- How Bollywood happened?
Bollywood – Roja- Bombay none of them were planned… It all happened accidently.
Stardom also came accidently to me which I enjoy to be honest.
At 29 I quit, I work beyond cinema… I took a break from cinema and did some other job.
- You quit at the peak of your career. Did stardom bothered you anyway?
Attention that I was getting from everywhere, I could not cope up with that time.
After a hectic day of work, when I come back home, I needed to be alone, I needed to be unattended. I didn’t want unwanted attention and wanted to enjoy a normal life like normal human being.
- You left Cinema and run your own business, are you still content?
I went to US and worked hard with my masters. I have grown my business to a Global Business: we are present at many countries. I try my best to give quality solution to my stakeholders, Nationally and Internationally.
I am content, my business is in the hands of my executives, I have started it in 2006 and it is in many countries now.
I am also a single parent and need to raise my kid. It’s not a sad story! I met with an accident and got spine injury also.
In 2012 Mani called me again and gave me a role for Kadal- so I came back. The film was received well by the audience, if fans would not have accepted it well, I would not have done another film!
- You have returned to films after many years and with time many things might have changed. What are the changes that you noticed in film?
- I observed change mainly in audience, evolution of them and their taste.
Due to YouTube, Web series, Social Media even the medium is well exposed now.
Mystery of Film- Making has been demolished!
The other change is the technology and its support in all aspects of film making.
Now my kids make short film easily on a mobile for You Tube.
- You have picked up Negative role opposite to your Romantic Character.
AS: Yes I did. Which again came to my way on its won!
I did a gray character for a Malayalam film and again audience have received it well.
8.Your take on Industry change?
AS: When it comes to the entire industry, some parameters have certainly changed. Actors got voice.
But every region have their own philosophy which is still intact.
In Tamil film you still can’t show an actor kissing each other but you can show it on YouTube or Web Series.
Loads of contents are available these days on Netflix and others where many uncensored contents are accessible but we should prepare guidelines and then we can avoid confusion.
The industry has expanded and it should be clear and non-confusing to all.
9.As an actor how do you feel- you too may have some Religious Sentiment or Political belief?
AS: As an actor I will never do anything to hurt any sentiments. But we can be always miss-used or miss-targeted by others.
Opinions are all subjective, things I support is my philosophy.
I am only an actor, and if I belief the script to be good then only I do it.
I don’t want to carry messages with my film
I am not sitting here to teach my audience, let audience decided what they want to learn.
At the same time social message can go hand in hand
Film Industry is not doing the job of preaching.
Films are meant for entertainment, it should engage the audience for 2.5 hours.
- Industry if flooded with biopic. Are you open to one?
AS: If its factual I will love to be part.
If it’s made with facts I will do, but today anything can be turned controversial.
We actors can be dragged to controversy anytime.
- Actors prefers to stay away from politics, your opinion?
AS” I am only an actor. I don’t want to be into politics.
I may speak up, but let me be an actor only.
Sometimes I do raise my voice to support my actor friend. If I strongly feel about it then only I do.
I am not a politician what matters to me is the policy, which is going to impact us all.
Everybody expresses their feeling when they want to share, ofcourse we all do through our own medium.
I can only bring some attention to a cause, but I cannot solve the problem.
I am only an actor, I can only bring attention. I done have magic to solve problem.
- Your message to all?
AS: Natur’s Law always stand apart!
What you are good at, you must do that in Reel or Real.
- Bollywood or Tamil film?
AS: Ofcourse Tamil J
14.Your views on Mani Ratnam?
AS: For me Mani is like going back home!
He is my benchmark
I am much comfortable with him and he is my favorite.
- Difference between Bollywood fan and Tamil fan?
AS: Intensity of fans reaction differs in both places.
Here in Chennai at 4 am they will come to see the first show of your film which is not to be seen much in other cities.
Intense idolization prevails here. I do go to see my fans reaction for 4 am show without letting them know that I am around and watching their reaction.
- Any funny incident?
AS: Fan who is my fan and when she says my mother is also my fan.
And very often my fan will admit “You are my childhood crush” and that made me feel I am so old!.
- Any future plan?
AS: No plan to disappear.
Will direct my own film in a year or two.
But Tamil film only.