Karthi: ‘I Need a Break After Kaithi’

Karthi: ‘I Need a Break After Kaithi’

Tamil actor Karthi talks about his latest release that sees him in a very different role

One  of  the most  exciting actors  of  the new generation in Tamil cinema, Karthi  never hesitates in pushing the  envelope as  far as  it can go. His new film Kaithi is being spoken about in the most awed tones as a  phenomenal  occurrence in  Tamil cinema.

 Playing a prisoner out on parole to meet his  daughter, suddenly saddled with mindboggling death-defying task involving  a dangerous drug cartel, Karthi has given a devastating performance. The  character  hardly speaks. Laughs  Karthi, “Yes,  he  is  very quiet. That’s  the way  I saw my character. Initially  there was  a  lot of dialogue for me. But  I said no to them. A man who has been in jail  for ten  years  wouldn’t have so much to say.”

Kaithi has  been the  toughest role  so  far for Karthi.  “It is been a very exhausting experience, both  emotionally and physically. We  were on the roads shooting mostly during the night in the toughest of  locations.  Kaithi has taken a toll on all of us. To be  honest, I need  a break now,” says Kaithi who has just completed a  film with Jeetu Joseph and  is  in the midst  of shooting another  film Bakkiyaraj Kannan’s  Sultan.

“Again,  that’s a tough one,” he says  about  Sultan. “We’ve been shooting the past few days in forests  on the Tamil Nadu  border.” Speaking on  the  experience  of  shooting Kaithi , Karthi says it was  a work  of  collective  responsibility. “There  was  a lot  of give-and-take,  lots  of improvisation. Every  member  of the cast and  crew was  welcome to  pitch in with suggestions. We  worked in a  spirit  of complete  creative freedom , and that’s  why  Kaithi seems so fresh original  and honest.”

Karthi  says he found it easy  to relate  to  the  character  of  the  father. “I have children of my own. And to imagine, that I would go without seeing them for ten  years  is so  terrifying. I  put myself in that  situations  wondering what I’d feel like in  my character’s place. Yes, there is a deep emotional connect  with the character.”

Such is  the  sense of fulfillment  offered  to  the  Kaithi team that they are already  on to the idea of  sequel. Laughs Karthi,  “Actually the  director Lokesh Kanagraj said, ‘Let’s do a sequel. Give me 30 days and  I will complete it.’  I said okay. Now he  just has to  write  the  script.”

30 days seems like very little time to shoot a film so dark and exhausting. Karthi admits  the  time taken to shoot Tamil films is  shrinking. “I’ve to admit  many of film  so far have taken inexcusably long to shoot. That’s  changing now. We’ve a lot of young directors coming in with a developed consciousness about the value of time. You see, a lot  of these  new directors have made short-films. They know the  value of brevity.”

As  one of  the harbingers  of  a new wave in Tamil cinema Karthi sees the change happening in his part  of the world.  “I was never a trained actor. Like  many  film actors I’ve been learning on  the job. I’ve made sure that each  project I take on will take me to  a  new territory to explore. All I wanted  to do was  to  surprise  myself. That the audience is responding so well to my efforts  is just a  big  incentive  for me to do  better.”

For his  next release ,  the  Jeetu Joseph directed film where Karthi will be seen with his sister-in-law  Jyotika   the  actor  says, “It is a family  thriller  like Jeetu Joseph’s  Drishyam. But there is  also a lot of  humour in it.  This  would be  my first opportunity to do something  light-hearted  on screen after Oopiri.”

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