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 in Mani Ratnam’s films. "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.
The song, Khilli re, captures the chemistry between Vikram and Ragini. With a laugh, the actor admits that 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 says.
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.
Ask him if there were moments in the song that reminded him of real life 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.
Quiz him on co-star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’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.“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.” Apart from this film, the actor has more reasons to celebrate — he’s been offered two more Bollywood films.