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Courting theatres after two years with Etharkkum Thunindhavan, actor Suriya talks about why even his mass films will have an underlying social commentary

Actor Suriya, who’s courting the theatres after two years with ‘Etharkkum Thunindhavan’, says social commentary will be part of his films, even those tailored for the fan base

Actor Suriya, who’s courting the theatres after two years with ‘Etharkkum Thunindhavan’, says social commentary will be part of his films, even those tailored for the fan base

At first look, the promotional content material of actor Suriya’s new movie ET(Etharkkum Thunindhavan in Tamil, Evariki Thala Vanchadu in Telugu) appears to be like like a movie that’s meant to attraction to his giant fan base, however the actor asserts that there will be one thing to remove when the audiences depart the theatres: “I am 47; I feel responsible to use cinema to make people think and, if possible, trigger a change. Vetri (Maaran) told me he gave up smoking after watching Vaaranam Aayiram. I don’t want people to watch my films only for entertainment. There has to be something more,” he says, throughout this transient dialog in Hyderabad earlier this week.

With a heat smile, greater than as soon as he expresses his happiness at having the ability to journey and discuss about his movie, just like the pre-pandemic days. After the heavy-duty Soorarai Pottru(Aakaasam Nee Haddura in Telugu) and Jai Bhim — each films streamed digitally— he’s wanting ahead to the theatrical launch of ET on March 10: “Telugu films Akhanda, Pushpa and Bheemla Nayak have given us hope that it is possible to draw the crowds back into the theatres.”

While engaged on Soorarai Pottru, part of the appearing course of was to recall his previous, when he used to drive 85 kilometres to work in a garment manufacturing facility, to have the ability to painting the anguish and resilience of a person who’s aspiring to make a mark. The script of Jai Bhim had sufficient emotional heft for the actor. How does he get into the mindspace of a personality in a mass movie like ET or the Singam franchise? “I believe in this form of entertainment too. I need to cater to different audiences and I want to do it well. If I do not believe in it, it will not look authentic on screen.”

Everyday patriarchy

Suriya refuses to get into the main points of the underlying social commentary of ET, past hinting that it touches upon points confronted by ladies. However, he assures that there will be just a few speaking factors such because the ingrained, on a regular basis patriarchy: “We don’t think twice before taking women in our homes for granted, expecting them to play host, caregivers; some of this is also woven into the film.”

Saranya Ponvannan, Sathyaraj and Suriya in ‘Etharkum Thuninthavan’

ET has him group up with director Pandiraj, whom he launched with his manufacturing Pasanga and the following Pasanga 2. Pandiraj additionally directed Karthi in Kadaikutty Singam(Chinna Babu in Telugu): “Pandiraj has a way of striking a balance between commercial elements and staying true to the story.”

After the mainstream detour with ET, Suriya will start engaged on his subsequent initiatives with director Bala and Vetri Maaran. Pre-production work is on for Vetri Maaran’s movie Vaadivasal: “There are scenes for which we will need to use robotics and at least 1000 people. We were waiting for the pandemic to taper down. We hope to start filming by June.” Probe him about Bala’s movie and Suriya smiles, however refuses to provide away something.

ET is Suriya’s first collaboration with actor Sathyaraj, whom he has recognized since his childhood days in Coimbatore. “Sathyaraj mama’s first earning in cinema was ₹ 10. He bought me chocolates and took me for a ride on his bike. It took us this long to work together. Today’s youngsters identify him as Kattappa or by his father roles. I’ve seen his journey from a villain to a hero and then character roles. He is keen to play a negative character now.”

For years, Suriya avoided dubbing for his Telugu films and that was a sore level. That modified with Gang, the Telugu model of Thaana Serndha Koottam. He has additionally dubbed for the ET Telugu model and says this time round, he was extra acquainted with the language: “I finished the Telugu dubbing earlier than Tamil and Pandiraj commented that the Telugu version sounded even better.” 

Blurring boundaries

For now, he’s glad that Soorarai Pottru and Jai Bhim have appealed to extra than simply the Tamil-speaking audiences, because of the broad digital attain: “I believe that theatres will co-exist with the digital medium. It is a process of evolution. Of the eight crore population in Tamil Nadu, only an estimated 80 lakh watch films in theatres. I made my career with theatrical films, so that will continue. Moving forward, I will also make films for the digital space,” he says, including that Jai Bhim director T J Gnanavel has been flooded with requests from totally different movie industries for his or her initiatives. “Language and regional barriers that had begun to blur with films like Baahubali, have further blurred during the pandemic.” 

Actor Suriya

Actor Suriya

He recollects the conversations that opened up submit Jai Bhim: “So many people told me they were not aware of the plight of Irula and other native tribes. I was touched when the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin showered praises on the film. Further, the State government carried out an exercise of identifying people belonging to native tribes in each district, in order to give them community certificates. If a film can enable this, it shows we can be changemakers in a small way.”

Open to criticism

Suriya says each Soorarai… and Jai Bhim had been leaps of religion. He was cautioned to not take up films the place his character is stripped of the same old heroics: “I have been in cinema for 24 years. I see no harm in being a part of films that narrate stories inspired by real people.”

He is conscious of the criticism that got here in from some quarters about the craft of Jai Bhim being emotionally manipulative: “Our attempt was genuine. If there is something that can be corrected, we are open to suggestions. There is always a learning curve. We cannot outright dismiss the opinions of those who have alternative points of view.”

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