has completed a decade in
the Tamil film industry. Perhaps no actor in the
South has had such a roller-coaster ride like he
has in these 10 years.
After a spectacular debut in Aasai,
Ajith had a spill on his bike on the racetrack,
and was bed-ridden for a year or so. When many
thought he would not walk again, he came back with
the big hit, Kaadal Kottai.
It was followed by a
string of flops.
Once again, the industry was in a hurry to
write him off. He then came back with Vaalee. And this time, it
was followed by one hit after another. Seven
successive hits later, a dip followed in his
Now, Ajith is smiling once more. His Diwali
is still doing very well at the box office. One
can say life has come full circle more than once
for him in the last 10 years.
Ajith has also realised that the time has come
for him to pursue his passion -- racing. He is on
the verge of getting a pilot's licence too.
As he gets ready to shoot for his new film Jana, directed by
noted Malayalam filmmaker Shaji Kailas, he appears
more excited about his
career in racing, which will take off in March
in Malayasia in the Formula Asia BMW Championship
Excerpts from a conversation with
you were going through a very bad phase. How did
you come out of that difficult period?
It was a very tough time for me. It was a
tougher time than what I had faced before Vaalee. At the
time, there was this boycott against me in 1997. I
do not want to think of all that.
Why did all those films flop?
I think I made wrong moves. I chose wrong
scripts. It was my fault. There is no point
blaming the producer or director when it was all
my fault. I should have backed out when I felt the
films were not going to do well. I chose to
Luckily for me, [producer] Chakravarthy stuck
succeeded because we were genuinely working
towards a good film. We worked hard and with a lot
What was on your mind before Villain released?
Everyone said it was a crucial film for you. Were
To tell you the truth, I was not tense. I had
seen worse times. I thought, 'This too shall pass.'
Today, I think if anything bad happens, I can tell
myself that. When something good happens, I tell
myself it too shall pass. That is a better way of
handling success and failure. You remain stable.
Have you been handling success and failure
It is much more difficult to handle success. It
is easier to handle failure because you can
indulge in self-pity, you can hit the bottle, you
can blame it on people. Success is like a wild
horse. If you do not know how to handle it, it
will throw you off and look for another rider who
can handle it well.
Did it happen to you?
Many times. It happened to me after the success
of Kaadal Kottai.
It happened to me after seven successive hits. I
became overconfident. I thought whatever I do
would be accepted. I fell flat on my face. I
Are you by nature a person who gets easily
carried away by success?
I do not know. Success is very intoxicating. It
is very difficult to handle all the fame and
adulation. It corrupts you. You start to believe
that everybody around you is in awe of you, that
everybody wants you and that everybody is thinking
of you all the time.
On the contrary, the more you rise, people
around you want to pull you down. They sing false
praises and corrupt and brainwash you into
believing something you are not. That is when you
should start choosing the people around you.
One day, I woke up and asked myself, 'What the
hell am I doing to myself?'
How did that realisation come?
Only because of my family -- my father, my
mother, my brother and my wife -- made me see what
reality is. No matter how big you are, when you go
back home, your family treats you like a normal
person. That's when reality hits you.
You did a film like
Mugavari, in which you are a normal
person, but of late you seem to be trapped in a
I want success. I don't mind being trapped in
any image. To hell with all those people who don't
like to see me getting trapped in an image because
they do not go to the theatres. They watch movies
on DVDs and VCDs. The common man who earns daily
wages comes to the theatre. I want to make films
All those who claim to love realistic films are
hypocrites who do not go to the theatres. Why
should I make a film for them? They are not my
Tell us something about your new film Jana, which is to
directed by Shaji Kailas.
It is a commercial film with fights, songs --
everything that would make the audience happy. It
is like a full course meal, a South Indian
contains all the varieties of
pulao, chapati, puri.
Unlike other new entrants in racing, you
managed to get sponsors easily. Do you think it is
because you are a film star?
I know that racing in India is still in its
infancy, but it is being sponsored by firms like
JK Tyres and MRF. These two companies are doing a
lot for the sport.
I have been lucky to get sponsors. I like to
believe that they are not banking on me just
because I happen to be a celebrity. I would
attribute half of their intentions to my driving
I am sure that once I start racing, my fans
also will start watching. We are going to have
five races in Malaysia, and Malaysia has a huge
Tamil population. There is bound to be some
initial viewership [because of my celebrity status],
but they will continue to watch me in racing
circuits only if I prove my worth on the tracks.
If you have to choose between acting and
racing, which would you prefer? Which career are
you more passionate about?
I would like to have the cake and eat it too! *laughs*.
To be very honest, it will be very unfair for me
to say that I will choose racing. I am racing
today only because of movies and the money that I
have earned from movies.