“Surya is my inspiration” – Interview with Karthi Sivakumar
It’s always been a dream for every new comer to make their debut film a super hit. Some succeed, some fail, but very few go that extra mile. Some critics compare his debut to that of Sivaji’s Parasakthi. Sivaji Ganesan created magic then, but for now it’s Karthi Sivakumar. Introducing the youngest son of the legendary Sivakumar and brother of actor Surya.
Karthi flagged off his career with a sensational debut in Paruthiveeran, a movie that turned the tables in his career.
Attired in a casual jeans and a dark purple shirt, Karthi walks in the room quietly with a pleasant smile. The first thing that you notice when you sit for an interview with him is his killer eyes and the infectious smile. Well, that’s the trick the entire family did to wow us. Will karthi be an exception? Sharanya C.R records…
Karthi was raised like any other normal child. He finished his schooling in St.Bede’s and joined engineering in Crescent Engineering College. He went on to do his masters in the US and finally realized that his heart was with films. So when did the transition happen? “I was earning my scholarship, working 20 hours a week as a graphic designer in the US, when I realized that I never got tired of creative work. I suddenly understood my priorities. Earlier, I never had the clarity or courage to tell dad that I wanted to be in films though I always loved the medium. At that point I decided I wanted to be part of movie-making, the most interesting job ever,” says Karthi.
Later he joined a film institute in New York and did a small time course. But when he decided to come back to India, he was sure that he will work with ace director Mani Ratnam, as his assistant. “When Mani Sir was doing Ayutha Ezhuthu, he wanted a guy who looks like Surya’s brother for the film. Few people recommended my name. However, when he saw me he got a shock of his life. I looked like a hulk! Thanks to the pizza’s and burgers” chuckles the young lad.
Reminiscing about the times spent with Mani, he says, “Working with Mani Ratnam is an unforgettable experience. I always wanted to learn the best from the best people. Interacting with some of the top technicians like Ravi K Chandran, Sabu Cyril and a few others helped me a great deal. I felt I was sitting in a university!”
So when did Paruthiveeran happen? “I worked as an assistant director in both the versions – Ayutha Ezhuthu and Yuva. Later I got offers from many directors. However I wasn’t convinced with the script. Ameer then came with Paruthiveeran. The script was too tempting to say a ‘no’! After all, who wouldn’t reverie of a dream debut with him,” says Karthi.
No one would forget the impressive climax from the movie. Many even said that Karthi was too good for his first film. Winning the Filmfare Best Debut (Male) and the Filmfare Best Actor is something no actor would imagine! “When I did Paruthiveeran, I never bothered about the results. I was focused only on two things. One is delivering the best and the second being satisfying the director. When I saw the film for the first time in Albert theatre, people gave me a standing ovation for the climax. I was happy that my hard work finally paid off” he says with pride.
Son of a veteran actor, brother of a sensational star and brother-in-law of a pretty actress, what was their family’s first reaction when they saw the movie? “It was not just the public; my family too said that I was too good for my debut film. I literally got Goosebumps. I was glad that I made my parents feel proud of me.”
Immediately after the release of Paruthiveeran, the lad rose high winning several accolades for his performance. He was then signed up for Aayirathil Oruvan, a big project with Selvaragavan. The movie almost took a year and a half for completion and is finally releasing this November. Musing about his experience, Karthi says, “I signed the film before Paruthiveeran got released. Selva is such a fantastic director. Initially we decided to do a romantic film, but since Selva was bored of making romantic films, we switched to this. I knew the film would take a longer time to complete and I was thoroughly prepared for it. It’s such a fantastic script and one of a kind. The movie is about adventure and has an epic quality.”
On a question about his co-stars, he chuckles, “One guy stuck with two girls! Very difficult, that too both being weird in different ways. Jokes apart, both of them are lovely. We naturally became friends as the project was on for more than a year. Since AO is adventure genre, we need to travel for long distances no matter how the weather would be. It was pretty hard, as co-stars even Andrea and Reema Sen also travelled without complaining. We share a great rapport and we are still in touch.”
So how does he differentiate Ameer and Selvaragavan? “Both are brilliant directors. Ameer is a kind of director where he expects the actor to act like him. But Selva is more relaxed. He enacts the scene but allows the actor to use their imagination and act” says the actor.
The one-film old Karthi is excited about his next romantic flick, Paiyya directed by Lingusamy which has Tamanah in the female lead. “Paiyya is a very urban film. It’s my first romantic film and I am really excited about it. The outline of the movie is about a guy and girl who travel from Bangalore to Mumbai in a car. Well, the rest is a hush-hush” he winks.
Ask him about his favorite co-star, he blushes, “I got along with everyone. Be it Priyamani, Andrea, Reema Sen or Tamanah everyone were sweet with me.” Probe him more about this, he laughs, “I love them all.”
Finally any case of sibling rivalry in the Sivakumar household, “There have been comparisons between my brother and me. I don’t think its fare; he has come a long way and achieved a lot of things. I am just three films old. Moreover, I don’t see him as a competition. He is more of an inspiration to me. He has just crossed the same road ahead of me. So whenever I face a problem, one shout is all I need to do and I know for the fact that he is there beside to support me” he ends with a million dollar smile.
Surya as a brother or Surya as a Actor?
Both! Can we differentiate them?
My best buddy
From Bharathiraja, “Dei enna da panna? Nee namba ooru paiyan da.”
Upcoming Films ?
Nan Mahaan Alla and Siruthai