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.”