Tuesday, 13 September 2011

‘I’M NOT POLITICALLY AMBITIOUS’ - Ajith Kumar’s Exclusive Interview to Times of India

…says actor Ajith, as he gets talking about his latest hit, the audience reaction and his future plans
Lata Srinivasan
His 50th film Mankatha has had an opening like none other this year. Whether it’s the salt-and-pepper look or playing the suited baddie, Ajith has carried it off with élan. Here, he opens up about the film, politics and more…
Did you expect the film to do as well as it has?
When I first heard the synopsis of Mankatha, it was a one liner. Post Vaalee, I hadn’t done a character with negative shade and I asked Venkat if he had any scripts. The moment I mentioned it, there was pin-drop silence at the other end of the line. He told me a line and I said it sounds interesting and I don’t mind doing it. I knew the film would do well but I didn’t expect this kind of a success; not even in my wildest dreams.
Do you think it’s because it’s your 50th film?
It’s got to do with a lot of factors. Venkat Prabhu is in tune with the youngsters of today. For instance, his dialogues are something the youth can relate to. Plus, it’s my 50th film. The star cast of the film — Arjun, Trisha, Lakshmi Rai, Anjali and the boys — was also a factor. The day of release was important — very rarely do you have five days in a row of holidays. Another reason why it worked was it was all about money; people could relate to this as money is so important today.
Casting Arjun…
I personally called him and asked him if he’d like to play this role. He said that he definitely wants to be a part of it, especially because it was my 50th film. When I was watching the film, I wasn’t even worried about what the public would think. I was more worried what Mr Arjun would think! Venkat and I were conscious that we never let him down.
Have you seen the movie with the audience?
No, I haven’t. The last film that I saw in a theatre was Ullasam in 1997. I have never been to a theatre after that. I am scared — scared because if it doesn’t do well, it will be hard to take. I am also scared that if it does really well, it would go to my head. I don’t want either of those reactions. In fact, Mankatha is the first movie that my daughter Anoushka has seen on-screen!
Are you happy with the saltand-pepper look? Women loved it…
Thank you (smiles). May be after Billa 2, I will retain my salt-and-pepper look for all my films. I will start choosing scripts that suit my age post that.
There are rumours of you signing a movie with Vishuvardhan, Vijay and Vikram Kumar…
We have a lot of great directors, but I don’t know who will be available post Billa 2. Vishnu is one director I look forward to working with again. I’d like to work with Venkat Prabhu again, but I don’t want him to feel obligated to cast me. Hopefully, in the next few weeks, there’ll be an announcement.
You recently disbanded your fan clubs. Any regrets?
This has nothing to do with the industry or the culture. This is something that I wanted to do, especially with the nexus between politics and the industry being so strong. I am aware that fans of mine come from different walks of life. And I want my fans to do well, but they need to understand that there is life beyond movies. This is entertainment, don’t take it too seriously. As an individual, you have every right to express your political preference. As fans, be united and come and watch my film. I received a lot of support when I took this decision. I’m very grateful to my fans that they accepted my decision and understood why I did it. With social networking, you are free to express yourself and I will take it as constructive criticism. You don’t need an organization to be a fan. If you love me, say a prayer for me.
Politics and entertainment are intertwined…
I’m not politically ambitious or politically motivated. I believe there are two kinds of people — those who want to get directly involved and those who ask ‘what can I do as an individual?’ I belong to the latter category. I work hard, pay my taxes, do charity within my capabilities and exercise my vote. If every individual fulfills his obligations or commitments, I think the world will be a better place.
Source: Times of India (Dated: 13-9-2011)

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