Sunday, 23 May 2010

“First Car, First Choice” - Ajith’s Exclusive Interview


I believe all of us have two choices in life — to exist or to live. I chose the latter, says actor Ajith on his return to racing in this interview with Ashok Venugopal

A right hand to capatalise on their popularity by signing a dozen odd films or join some political party or at the best become a restaurateur, actor Ajith Kumar comes as a breath of fresh air. He neither believes in the rat race nor does he want to follow the ‘accepted’ path that most actors of his ilk do. He wants to pursue his first love that is motor sports. Having touched 40, Ajith has realised it is either now or never for him as a racer. So he has resisted signing some lucrative movie deals and has in fact postponed shooting for his 50th film just to pursue his passion for cars.

Seven years ago he was part of the Formula BMW Asia tour and although the actor managed two podium finishes his sabbatical from films hampered his movie career. But with hard-work and excellent choice of scripts and under dedicated directors he once again bounced back into the limelight to the delight of his fans who affectionately call him ‘thala’ (leader).

Today, with renewed vigour and determination Ajith wants to make a mark as a racer like he has as an actor. “I’ve come back with renewed vigour as I feel the time is ripe to encourage the youth of India to take to this sport. With three Indians in F2, I feel there is a lot of encouragement and camaraderie amongst (the drivers),” he says.

“Definitely I am better prepared this time. Just to be in F2, which is a step away from F1, gives a lot of self-confidence.” Listing the support he has received from within the racing world, Ajith thanks them for their encouragement: Jonathan Palmer (a former Formula One driver whose company co-ordinates and operates the new FIA F2 Championship), Piers Hunisett (a former successful racecar driver who handles Ajith’s racing programme/career), James Gornal (the official F2 driver co-ordinator, who provides all the competitors with necessary information), Simon Melluish and Sam Tremayne (the duo that, on behalf of F2, handle all the media releases/ Driver Photo shoots etc.) The actor insists that he is serious about racing and from the way Indians are revelling in motor sports he does not like the word ‘hobby’ attached to it anymore.

Ajith, from being a lover boy has matured as an actor and has done with equitable ease comedies and action films. He shared an excellent chemistry with the Simrans and Jyothikas and has held his own against Nayanthara and Sameera Reddys who are years younger to him.

Likewise Ajith believes he can match the likes of fellow Indian F2 drivers Armaan Ebrahim and Parthiva Sureshwaren, if not better them. He believes life not about just winning but enjoying and following what the heart tells you. “It is a combination of various factors. Upbringing, circumstances, experiences, fatherhood and others around you bring in a lot of maturity and confidence. I believe that all of us have two choices in live I chose the latter,” life -to exist or to live. latter” says the Billa star.

Ajith has fond memories of his first stint as a racer and cherishes his two podium finishes at British F3 2004 Scholarship Class. Likewise he believes his best effort in his movie career is the 1999 film `Valee’ because that film gave him recognition and he is glad he did the project.

Ajith believes he is improving with every race in his first F2 season and finds the entire package thrilling. “Most of the circuits are very demanding of both the driver and car. But, it makes the races more exciting. The cars are very powerful and close to F1 specifications. For my build, I feel the F2 cars are better suited than the F3 I have driven earlier,” says Ajith, who will next be seen at Monza, Italy . “The emphasis is to provide every driver an even playing platform to showcase his driving abilities. The Williams JPH1B F2 car was designed by the Williams F1 team and features ground effect aerodynamics and a sophisticated composite survival cell complying with the 2005 F1 safety regulations,” adds Ajith.

On whether the season has gone as expected, he said, “With three rounds already over, I have got quite used to the car. My agenda for the first few races was to finish, which I did. From the forthcoming rounds onwards it will be time to get better qualifying and finish positions.” As for his goal in his debut F2 season, he said, “My realistic goal is to try and complete every race. I will drive to the best of my abilities and as I progress into the various rounds, I hope to score some points this season. Therefore, I am working hard at understanding the car as well as learning the various tracks.” Passionate as he is about racing, does he fear his second stint at the paddock would affect his career as an actor? “I have decided to act in just one film a year. My 50th film will start when the current racing season is over. Therefore, my career as an actor will not get affected by my racing.

Motor racing is a parallel career option I am seriously pursuing. My family, friends and fans are a tremendous support,” says Ajith firmly.

He has great regard for friend and guide Narain Karthikeyan and shares the ace driver’s fitness trainer Ramji Srinivasan. Ajith is keen to improve the health of motor sports in India and has spoken to the Tamil Nadu Government to give more importance for motor sports.

“The day is not far,” he says, “when three Indians will be in F1.”

Source: The New Indian Express 23rd May 2010


4 comments:

Suresh said...

Thala will soon participate in F!

Anonymous said...

Gethu

Ranjith said...

All the best Thala

Anonymous said...

Thala pola varuma

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