The undisputed superstar of South Indian cinema Vikram has worked in the Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam film industries for twenty years. The critically and commercially successful actor is now making headlines for his Hindi language debut in Mani Ratnam’s Raavan alongside Bollywood heavyweights Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan. If that was not enough, he also plays the title role in the Tamil version Ravanan. Bollypice spoke exclusively to Vikram in London just hours before the BFI Southbank red carpet premiere.
You have done Tamil films, Telugu films and Malayalam films, and now this is your Hindi film debut. Where do you see your career going in the future?
I will continue doing what I am doing and keep searching for good characters and look forward to working with big directors again. Hindi is just another option for me. It is an intoxicating thought that my debut in Hindi is with this film, but I am not going to let that drag me away to Bollywood or whatever. I will keep doing what I’m doing, and maybe wait for that occasional role which calls my interest.
How was the experience of working with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan?
We all had fantastic characters and we were all very much involved in that. We were friends much before the movie started and carried that over to the set. Everything was quite hard and difficult, but we always had AB’s wit and sense of humor which is famous and which everybody knows about. His two-seconders or three-seconders kept us going.
In the two versions Raavan/Ravanan you are playing two different roles. Was it confusing going from one character to the next?
Not really. Except once, just once, in a particular shot where I kind of reacted like the other guy and all of them were like ‘Oh let’s do that again’. It was during a fight scene and we were shooting back to back and I got quite carried away in the moment.
Did you change your performance style for the Hindi and Tamil versions?
Yes, we wanted it that way, because we always felt that there is going to be an audience that may want to see both. Considering the same actors are in both, it is nicer to have a lot of change. I think we have managed to do something where both of the roles look so very different vis-