South superstar Vikram who makes his Bollywood debut in Raavan, admits that for years he had been envious of actors who got to shoot romantic songs with Mani Ratnam.
“Mani sir takes romance to another level, he makes it appear so natural. I’d been hoping to be a part of one such song and when the opportunity presented itself, I was delighted,” he asserts.
Khilli re… doesn’t only have a catchy beat, it also effectively communicates the love this couple shares through looks and touches. The chemistry between the duo is sizzling as Ragini carries out routine chores, dancing through what is another day in her life. With a laugh Vikram admits that even his wife, Shaila, commented on their “sizzling chemistry” when she saw the promos.
“The song is emotional and at the same time very physical. In fact, at the film’s music launch, when the first promos were screened, a lot of people thought I looked ‘hot’. That was encouraging because this is a completely new audience reacting to me,” he chuckles.
The star confesses that when he entered movies, his wife used to be quite possessive but now she’s realised that this is all play-acting and takes the love songs in her stride.
“For me what’s real is when while singing with friends, I turn around the lyrics of a Gunaah song. In Kamal Haasan’s distinctive style, I’m warbling in Tamil, Shaila re, I love you so but you have to understand that I’m the guy who pays the rent and respect me too…’ I made up the words as I went along and had everyone, including my dear wife, rolling on the floor,” he grins.
You wonder if there were moments in this song that were reminiscent of real life too and he points out that on screen he is never Vikram but the character he plays.
And in this case he is Ram aka Dev in the Hindi Raavan and Ravan aka Beera in the Tamil version. Sita aka Ragini is the common link between the two. But while as the suave Dev, Vikram wooed her with champagne and passion, as the brutish Beera his feelings and moves —“I hardly touched her-- were dramatically different in the Tamil version of the song Behene de...
Quiz him on Aishwarya’s dancing and he says that while for many Madhuri Dixit was Bollywood’s best dancer whose energy and emotions blew you away, he was always impressed by Aishwarya’s “perfection”.
“I’ve worked with fabulous dancers like Jyotika and Shobhana who incidentally choreographed this number. But I have to say that Aishwarya’s something else,” he raves. “During a shot, I was totally into my role of a loving husband — girl or guy I’m never distracted when facing the camera — but I had plenty of time during rehearsals and her solo shots, to watch her. I was entranced. She dances so beautifully. She is poetry in motion.”
It is still early days but the actor says that the reaction to the film’s score and the promos have been overwhelming. He has already been offered two more Bollywood films. He’s taking his time though because Ram or Raavan he knows this movie will mark a turning point in his career.