The Unnaipol Oruvan actor had a candid tête-à-tête with Bollywoodlife as he shared some inside details about his upcoming projects
This actor may have started his career in Mumbai as a model but today he’s made inroads in south cinema. Currently, Ganesh Venkatraman has two projects in Tamil that he’s excited about – Acharam where he plays the lead and Jayam Raja’s Thani Oruvan where he’s part of the ensemble cast. The actor will also be seen in the Hindi remake of Polladhavan this year. Having worked in all the south languages, Ganesh seems to have found a niche for himself. Talking exclusively to us, he reveals more about his projects, the film industry and his first even Indian dance drama musical on stage in Chennai.
Tell us about Achharam.
Achharam is a film by an associate of Radha Mohan, Mohan Krishna. I heard the script about one and a half years back and was quite kicked about it. I have always played the urban, stylish characters and this movie is different – it’s a psychological thriller and I will be seen in a dual persona similar to a double role but not quite. I have two distinct looks in the film. Poonam Kaur plays the heroine in this film. This movie is for the masses and classes and I am looking forward to the audience’s reaction.
Was this role difficult to play?
No, because the director Mohan Krishna has written a very tight script and the charcaterisation is also extremely detailed. I have worked hard for the film yes. When I play a role, I like to get into the head of the character.
In Thani Oruvan you’ll be seen with Jayam Raja and Nayanthara.
This is a Jayam Raja film and it’s an original script – it’s very interesting. We are halfway through the climax of Thani Oruvan right now. Last year we went to the most exotic locations in the north to shoot in places like Hrishikesh, Derhadun, Manali and Mussoorie. I can’t reveal much about Thani Oruvan except that Jayam Ravi, Nayanthara and I play friends in this film and we see some wrongdoing in society which we take on. Like everyone knows now, Arvind Swamy plays a negative character.
Tell us about the Polladhavan remake in Hindi.
It’s titled Guns of Banaras and completely shot in Banaras. Karan Nath is playing Dhanush’s role and I am playing Daniel Balaji’s. I have a strong role in the film and I’m happy with this debut. Vinod Khanna, Abhimanyu Singh, Nathalia Kaur and Shilpa Shirodkar are also in this film. The movie shows the underbelly of Banaras and is adapted for the Hindi audience.
Achharam is complete so when is it releasing?
We are looking for a release date slot (laughs). The issue now that people are facing in Kollywood is getting a release date. Producers complete films and now have to wait for a release date. As actors, we need to help in this process of promotion and release – it is our responsibility as well.
But many actors in Kollywood don’t engage in marketing promotions.
Like I said, it’s also the actor’s responsibility to work with the producer in marketing and promotions during release. Many actors may feel that their job is over once they complete the film but today actors need to have a 360 degree outlook. Promotions on tv, print, radio, social media and events are important for the film and every bit helps. That’s my approach. The film industry is very dynamic and so is society. Producers making successful films for the last decade suddenly find that their films today don’t work – it’s because the audience is dynamic, their tastes keep changing. We need to be connected with the audience. At the same time, over-hype can kill a film.
As an actor, would you go to any lengths for a role – like Vikram in I?
Kudos to Vikram for his performance in I and what he did for the role. I think I would do what is required for a role – but nothing insane! (Laughs) In this day of technology and CGI, a lot of things can be enhanced through technology. But actors who have strong convictions about a film will always do what is required - like Mathew McConnaughey in Dallas Buyers Club where he went on to win the Oscar for Best Actor.
Have you done anything crazy for a role?
In 2008, Radha Mohan had come to Mumbai to audition for the role of Joginder Singh for Abhiyum Naanum. I attended the audition and didn’t pass the test because he said, “We’ll get back to you”. I was determined to succeed. The next day I dressed up as sardar with the beard and turban and make up and landed up at the audition. I barged in and spoke to him like a sardar for about five minutes pretending I had come for the audition. Then I took off the beard and told him, “Sir, I had come yesterday and I knew I failed so I decided to come back as a sardar.” He was amazed at my dedication and said, “You are in my film!”
Other than films, what are you working on?
I am doing my first ever Indian dance drama on stage! I have done plays in college but this is the first time I am doing a dance drama musical. It’s the adaptation of Cinderella. Actress Iyshwarya plays Cinderella and this has been conceptualised and choreographed by dancer Zakir Hussain. We are performing it in Kamaraj Arangam on February 9. I am really excited and looking forward to this. We are rehearsing everyday!
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