I didn't dream that one day I would turn into a filmstar!

Actor Ajithkumar has given an exclusive interview to the popular Tamil fortnightly "Vasuki", belonging to 'Dinakaran' Tamil Daily Newspaper group of publications. The details:  


               Recently, you were forced to face serious problems from all directions but finally you did overcome all those odds and troubles and now you are moving forward so majestically as a victorious hero! In cinefield you are only the second hero after M.G.R. to have won laurels once again after having sustained chronic physical injuries and become bed-ridden for a specific period of time! Would you share with us your past experiences during those critical periods?


                In the single year 1997, 5 films acted by me were released. Every one of them, contrary to our expectations, didn't run well! So there arose financial problem. Producers had great jolts! At this juncture, I too jumped into film distribution business and thereby I myself came to face so much financial losses! My health also got affected. Within those particular two years I was encircled by chronic problems like these! 


             Yet even amidst such cruel times I didn't loose hope and temper and came to a firm conclusion after much, leisurely thought!


           I could say anything now about the ways in which I handled those testing problems that stared on my face in the past. But whenever I recall how I managed to solve those problems bewilders me still now to a great extent!


          Only my self-confidence enabled me to win over my bad times. I had the full hope that,  if not to-day, some other day, I would definitely become a man of great success! For all these things, I couldn't refute the vital truth that a great power above me has always guided me along the right path.


            Who are all the people who have given a helping hand to you in your times of crises?


          First of all, the blessings of my father and mother is there. Then it's the power of the prayer of my fans and all others who appealed to God's grace on behalf of me! If I'm in this present state of good condition to-day, it's all only because of such peoples' goodwill!


          May 1st was my birth day. I'm starting 28th year of my age. Even at this small age I've attained a sea of experiences in life. One may have unlimited happiness. But one shouldn't get exposed to chronic problems of health and money simultaneously and at a stretch! In fact, because of these bitter experiences I h've come to understand so many truths I hadn't known before! I consider all this a gift of God to me!


          Do you have unlimited faith in God?


          Yes. I believe that there is a force above us! Once I have started from Mandaveli, Chennai and reached Thiruppathi to offer prayer to God, travelling all the way only on foot! Like this, on another occasion, I h've covered the entire distance from Chennai to Vaillanganni temple all by walking!


          Immediately after your treatment (operation), you have participated in continuous shooting. Is there any impelling force behind such efforts?


           When I was bed-ridden in hospital the problem didn't end up at the level of myself alone! It also affected the producers of the four films in which I was then acting. Those films' works had to be stopped half way because of my ill-health! Normally, if a film's work is stopped, consequently as many as 60 people belonging to that film unit also get affected! What's worse, it becomes the problem of their very livelihood even! What a pathetic condition it would be, if the shooting works of four films come to a standstill suddenly, because of me? Moreover the thinking within me that how dejected my fans may feel and all such factors put together imbibed into me the new spirit of energetic action that enabled me to get through the situation so successfully! So I burried all my sadness well into my heart and unminding of the pains I became busily involved in my shooting schedules!


                    Your are an excellent sportsperson! How is it that you suddenly stepped into the profession acting in films?


                    From my school days onwards, sports and games had continued to be my hobby. I studied upto only 10th std.  Beyond that I couln't show interest in studies! Next, I worked as a mechanic in the Enfield company for 4 years. Afterwards I started my own textile business. I met with loss!


                    In the meantime I was also doing modelling work! Only through it I got chance to act in feature films. But I didn't dream then that one day I would turn into a filmstar! Initially, I decided to act in films and thereby wanted to settle up all my loans first! When I was 21 years old, my first film in Telugu and in Tamil the film titled "Amaravathi" were released but they didn't have a good run! Atlast, here also the situation became critical! In the intervening period I suffered a lot for 4 years. I accepted small, small roles in films! Only in that way I acted as Vijay's friend in "Rajavin Paarvaiyile". I just showed my head in only one scene in Suresh Menon's "Paasa Malargal". I accepted all the offers without saying 'no' to anyone because in that way, I believed, I could avoid people calling me 'thandachchoru' etc. The only thinking that occupied my mind then was that one day or other I too would definitely become a great star in filmworld!


                  To-day you have become one of the leading stars in Tamil. What price do you think you h've given to attain this status?


                   I don't think I h've given any price! Yet, I have lost my privacy! I ever like to remain an average man! Even now I look after and fulfil my own needs myself! I smoke atleast 16 cigarettes a day! I buy my cigar pockets, by myself going to the shop! I don't expect others to do this for me! Yet for the past one month, I have completely stopped cigarette-smoking!  I don't know when I would start smoking, again! Even now I pay visit to the  club regularly. Like this I do get myself directly involved in such small, small affairs. And in that way I feel to be an average sort of man. I like that feeling.


                  What's your first ever victory in cinema line?


                    It's the film "Aasai" that enabled me taste very great victory. That also secured me stability in cinefield. For that I should thank only Vasanth sir. Only he's my Guru in the beginning days of my career! I have got good regard and respect for him even to-day!


                    Can one say that "Aasai" was out and out your success film?


                    That's only Vasanth sir's film! Even in it Prakashraj proved to be the talking point! Yet the film that came to be the starting point of my own successs was "Aasai". But the one in which you could see the real Ajithkumar is "Vaali".


                    It's sure that "Vaali" is going to be the one film worthy of my name; the film that's going to change my fate! Moreover either the films I'm presently doing or the ones I'm going to do in the future ....all these certainly going to have the justification of being called the films by Ajith! I will accept only those film offers in which my role happens to be a befitting one! No compromise on this!


                    You had the guts to commit yourself to act in one of the two hero roles in "Unnidaththil Yennai Koduththen", which no other (leading) actor might have agreed to play. Why?


                    There were two reasons for me to say 'yes' to that film. It was then 6 years since I had entered into film-acting. Until that point I hadn't acted in films directed by technicians of top-ranking category. Even directors likeVasanth sir and Agathiyan were elevated to the status of 'big' directors only now! When I was acting in their films they weren't talked of very 'emphatically!' Only after "Kaathal Kottai" Agathyan became an award-winning, giant director!


                    So I was having within me the long-cherished wish to act in 'big' directors' films! Vikraman sir is a leading director. So as soon as there was an offer for me to act in his film I blindly said 'O.K.'! Originally, they had different scope for that role but since I agreed to act in it, for my sake, they even made some changes in it's scope and concept. Next, for very long I have remained a staunch fan of Karthik sir since the days of my seeing such of his films like "Mauna Raagam" and "Agni Natchathiram". As I had chance to co-act with him in this film I accepted it with two-fold happiness!


                    When you co-act with leading senior artists do you have any feeling that your own image gets affected in the process?


                    I have yet to grow up to a great level. If I start worrying about my present image, this and that, then such type of feelings would only mar the prospects of my future growth and in no way would help me attain healthier development!


                ( His answer for the question, whether he has any ill feeling that his image gets affected when he teams with big level artists of high stature, continues as follows:)


                    As far as I am concerned I follow a particular principle very strictly: In front of the camera I consider all who act with me only as my competitors! The artist whom I team with may be the one whom I like most or an artist of very great stature, yet I prefer to treat him only as my competitor! I would always vie for outshining him in acting! I won't worry about my image and this and that!


                    Both Vijai and Prashanth are my good friends. Yet, if I happen to act with them I would definitely try to outwin them in acting. For that matter, even if my parents or brothers happen to act with me in front of the camera, I would definitely treat them as my competitors!


                You have acted in "Unnaiththedi"only after the operation (medical treatment). Yet, in the song scenes of the film, you have done each and every movement of yours very beautifully and gracefully! How?


                    Only after my first operation I participated in "Unnaiththedi" songs shooting and dubbing work. Each and every scene whose shooting work was completed at that time, bears the mark of my sweat and hardwork.


                After my 2nd operation, I acted in "Vaali". It took 1 year 8 months of hard work and great pains on my part to complete this film. Definitely this picture would become a super-hit!


                Generally, I always share  my happiness with all the people. But when it comes to my sorrows, I have never given vent to them outwardly and explicitly! Even if I get  injured, I won't make any hue and cry or create scenes! Instead I would simply go and sit quietly in a room, keeping myself aloof!


                What are all the films you are doing at present?


                I'm now acting in the following films: "Aanada Poongaatrae", "Nee Varuvaai" which I'm doing in combination with Parthiban sir, in Charan sir's direction  "Amarkalam" which is also my 25th film, under the direction of Rajiv Menon in "Kandu Konden, Kandu Konden" and the one I have committed recently, namely "Mugavari"!


                I'm of the view that I should hereafter act in three films a year. I will select good subjects and commit in them accordingly!


                Generally it's said that your relationship with the press people isn't that much normal....Why?


                It isn't that I hate all the press persons. I codemn only those who write ill of me and focus on my personal life!


                It's only natural that the fans become curious to know about leading artists like you! Isn't it so?


                That's true. But it's only too much when they spy on me to know at which (odd) hour I return home, wherever I use to go and at what time I take my food etc., etc. Are all these informations really necessary?


                Generally, I'm a short-tempered person. If I'm not so, then people would try to climb on me and sit upon my head! Cine field is like that!


                You can ask whatever information about me or my work....I would definitely answer. But even my parents shouldn't try to know about my personal affairs...Nobody has the right to do that. I don't like such things as these!


               More than any other young hero, it's only you who gets implicated in so many gossips...Do you refute, on your part, all such rumours?


                You yourself call it 'gossips'! Gossips mean only rumours and nothing more!


                Gossip doesn't mean rumour. It means what's told secretly into one's ears! It means secret news! Do you welcome such news?


                Among those news items you refer to, only a few are true. All others are created in peoples' imagination. The problem becomes serious when people totally unconnected with me are linked with me in gossips! So not only myself but also all those who are falsely implicated with me get affected ultimately! I wish other peoples' names shouldn't be spoiled using my name!


                   An actress has recently made a complaint against you saying that you have cheated her. Won't it be better had you avoided at the beginning stage itself such unhealthy relationships?


                   So far I haven't abandoned anyone so uncaringly! Had I behaved like that, I can't be alive at all even after the 9 surgeries I have undergone now! Yet for that matter I won't also say that I'm an innocent guy!


                  Instead of myself telling anything about that actress who has given an interview to the press talking ill of me, if you could enable yourself to mingle with the members of her family, then it would be easier for you to get a first-hand knowledge of the facts involved! There's not even the least kind of real affection (on their side).  They had only commercial plans as to how they could come up in life exploiting me. That's why I myself got away from them. On the other hand I always respect womenfolk. There's no examples in history to show that those who don't know how to respect women have flourished in their lives!As for me, I don't wish to spoil anyone's life!


                How is your relationship with actress Hera?


                It was there formerly. Not now! Friendship between two people concerns with their two hearts! Both of them should wish that their relationship should continue. Instead, if they move with me expecting something else, then nothing but tensions develop in the relationship! It's possible that within two months period, the parties concerned could be able to assess whether the relationship between them is mutually agreeable or not! I'm forced to come out of all such  relationships that seem to be unworthy of pursuing further!


                  Do you have any friends who could be termed your dear most ones?


                  When I found myself entangled with serious problems like FEFSI-Creators' Union dispute etc. the one person who remained always at my side extending his fullest support to me was producer-cum-dearest friend Chakravarthi. As Ibrahim Rowther-Vijayakanth is there as a telling model of ideal friendship, Chakravarthy and myself also remain so! Only he produced "Raasi" in which I  acted. But that didn't run well. Hence I acted freely (without salary) for him in his new production "Vaali".


               Whom would you term as the most comfortable director to work with, as far as you are concerned?


               I feel comfortable while I do films under the direction of either Charan, who directed "Kaathal Mannan" or Surya who is the director of "Vaali". Not only that I'm of their age but also that both of them know fully well about me!  Both know how to bring out the (potential) talents which are inside me and have also understood how to control me!


               Do you have any intention of directing films apart from  acting?


              Presently I have got great interest in the technical side. But don't intend to direct.


              You have already indulged in doing film distribution business! When are you going to be a producer?


              I would never jump into the profession of film production. Yet I'm unable to state the reason for that! But I tell definitely...I won't indulge in film production at all!


               Whom would you include in the list your favourite women?


               In politics I like Indra Gandhi. I too like the the 'soft-acting' of Jayabadhuri (wife of Amitap Batchan). In Tamil, Radhiga is my favourite actress!


               Who's your favourite among the present-day actresses?


                I like Shalini's acting. In those days when she appeared on the screen as a child artist she was very much endowed with childish shrewdness. To-day's Shalini astonishes all of us with her well-groomed maturity of mind and modesty of behaviour as she appears on the screen! I like to-day's Shalini too! But when we co-act with her (in film), we need to be a little more careful ...For if we remain slack, even for a brief time, she would definitely overtake us in terms of good acting!


                    Ramba, Simran and Roja too could be included in the same category!  Ramba's activities outside cinema would seem to be like those of a child. But the same Ramba when she stands before the camera gets converted into exactly the opposite type of person! She would take great care to depict different emotions beautifully! Simran and Roja also are like that! They always have the passion to overtake others in acting. They remain expertly professional!


                When are you going to get married?


                I don't have any preplan about my marriage. The only aim I'm having now is to become a leading actor. I wish to get, in the future, the same position Rajini is enjoying now (in industry).


                You have born on the World Workers' Day...ie. on May 1st. What about your relationship with them?


                I myself have started my career only as a worker. I worked as an apprentice in Enfield Company for 4 years. I feel extreme happiness to celebrate combinely both the World Workers' Day as well as my own Birth Day!



Source : "Vasuki"

The popular Tamil fortnightly 

"Dinakaran" Group of publications

                9th June, 1999


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