Sakka Podu Podu Raja actor Santhanam: I got bored of playing the hero’s friend
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Sakka Podu Podu Raja actor Santhanam: I got bored of playing the hero’s friend

Sakka Podu Podu Raja actor Santhanam talks about his transition from being a comedian to lead actor and the support he received from his friends.

regional movies Updated: Dec 19, 2017 14:53 IST
Haricharan Pudipeddi
Haricharan Pudipeddi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Santhanam,Sakka Podu Podu Raja,Sakka Podu Podu Raja movie
Sakka Podu Podu Raja actor Santhanam works with his team who help him with dialogues.

For over a decade, Santhanam has successfully entertained Tamil audience as a star comedian and he has single-handedly saved many films from going down the drain. When he decided to turn hero in 2014 with Vallavanukku Pullum Aayudham, his decision was not welcomed with open arms by many, including some of his own peers from the industry. Despite stiff opposition, he continued playing lead roles in projects such as Inimey Ippadithaan and Dhilukku Dhuddu, which were well received and did decent business at the box-office.

Ahead of the release of his next outing Sakka Podu Podu Raja (which hits the screens on Friday), in which he has played the hero again, Santhanam says he has bid adieu to playing comic roles and second fiddles to heroes. “I got bored of playing the hero’s friend who helps in love. After a point, the roles got so monotonous I felt I can’t do this anymore. I can’t quit cinema, so I decided to play the hero. No matter what decision you take in life, there’ll always be support and opposition. I saw both in this case but I was certain of what I wanted to do with my career. I still do humour in the films I play the hero, but this is different. Humour I do as hero is not monotonous and boring,” Santhanam told Hindustan Times.

See | Stills from Santhanam’s Sakka Podu Podu Raja

The transition from a comedian to hero had its share of challenges, admits Santhanam, who is now wary of how he looks and what he wears. “I didn’t care much about how I looked when I played a comedian. There have been instances when I wore whatever was available on sets. Since I play a hero now, it matters not just to me but also to my fans how I look. Changing your look is not easy. You just can’t change the way you look because it has to suit you. In Sakka Podu Podu Raja, the director gave me references of Hollywood pop stars, and that’s how we zeroed in on my look in the film. After I became a hero, it’s not just the looks that mattered. It also mattered to my fans that I entertain them with dance and fight sequences for which I worked extra hard,” he said.

Santhanam assures Sakka Podu…will be a rip-roaring entertainer and he credits his team for putting together the comedy sequences in the film. “It’s not a one man show. I have a team of writers and we sit and discuss and then write. They’ve travelled with me for a long time and most of them worked with me in television. Most of my dialogues and punch lines are improvised on the spot. We just go with the flow and it has worked most of the times.” As he’s climbing up the ladder in his career, Santhanam is taking his friends along. He has given directorial breaks to his friends. Sakka Podu Podu Raja is directed by G.L Sethuraman, former colleague of Santhanam on his television show Lollu Sabha. “I’m just identifying talent and giving them right opportunities. I’m happy we’re growing as a team,” he said.

Santhanam’s foray into cinema from television is no easy feat. Commenting on the popularity of this trend in the last few years, he said, “I’m happy with the acceptance of some television actors into cinema in recent times. When I made the plunge, people from the industry looked down upon my television background. Luckily, I won the hearts of the audiences which earned me acceptance from all quarters. But it’s heartening to see actors like Sivakarthikeyan and Robo Shankar, who come from television background, doing extremely well in cinema.”

Sakka Podu Podu Raja releases alongside Sivakarthikeyan’s Velaikkaran, but Santhanam doesn’t see Siva as competition. “I don’t see Siva as competition. Maybe the competition is between our films which is good and needed as long as it doesn’t turn into envy. I’m happy for Siva and his growth. For an industry to flourish, we all should grow not just as one individual,” he said.

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First Published: Dec 19, 2017 14:41 IST