2015 is ending on a good note for actor Jayam Ravi, with the release of the long-delayed Bhoologam. He put on 15 kilos for his role as a boxer, and trained for three months with an instructor. Even tougher was sparring with Hollywood actor Nathan Jones during the fight in the climax. Bhoologam is on the verge of release. And Jayam Ravi is in an upbeat mood.
With all the promotional events, it’s been a long day. No matter. His voice brims with energy and enthusiasm as he talks about Bhoologam. “It’s directed by SP Jananathan Sir’s assistant, Kalyan Krishnan, and deals with a social issue. I play Bhoologam, a boxer. It’s a typical North Madras setting. This is a revenge saga about two warring clans in the area.” The film highlights the historical ties between the region and boxing. Jayam Ravi says, “Actually Mohammed Ali, the famed Boxer visited Madras for a fight. He even met the legendary MGR at the time. All these links of the past have been forgotten over time.”
The film is neither a simple tale of revenge, nor just any boxing film. The plot revolves around a mystery, with some highly emotional sequences. Ravi smiles, “It’s all about knowing who the real enemy is.”
Playing a boxer wasn’t easy. Ravi recalls, “The film was shot over a year. I carried 15 extra kilos on my body all that time. It was tough, and my brain didn’t adapt easily to so much body weight. I would buy shirts for my normal body weight and suddenly it would hit me that I was bulkier.”
Boxing with a seven-foot WWF wrestler like Nathan Jones wasn’t easy either. Even though the sequences were fictional, he had to deal with a fair amount of injury. He admits, “I did get hit by mistake, during the shooting of the climax fight. And that too on my head. At one point I was seeing sparrows around my head! Nathan Jones was apologetic, but he said, ‘You should hit me back. Come on, I won’t mind. I like pain.’ I told him, ‘You like pain, but I don’t!’” He laughs at the memory, “it was all good fun.” His sincerity to his craft is evident, “Despite all the boxing fights and blows, I’m happy to say that I didn’t used a dupe. An actor has to be fearless, no matter what.”
They may be enemies on screen, but Jones and Ravi hit it off as individuals. Ravi says, “My mom gifted him a veshti, among other things, and he really liked it. He even wore it to the set one day!”
Ravi also had words of praise for his producer, “Aascar Ravichandran got us the best technicians. He left no stone unturned in an effort to create authenticity. The climax fights were choreographed by Hollywood’s Larnell Stovell (Fast and Furious, Green Lantern). He got Nathan Jones to play the villain. All this considerably added to the story. The more fearful the villain, the bigger the impact of the hero.”
Sports seems to play an important role in Ravi’s films. “I learned archery and football for my previous films. Now it’s boxing with Bhoologam,” he laughs.
He’s also also going to team up with Trisha once again. Smiling, he recalls, “When she first saw me at the shoot, she was astounded. She said, ‘What happened to you? You’ve put on so much weight. This isn’t the Ravi I know!’ But as the film progressed, she understood why it had to be this way.” The duo share a good friendship and their chemistry is evident on screen. Ravi’s favourite song in the film is ‘Tattoo Tattoo’. He says with an impish grin, “Whenever I win a medal, she tattoos the design on her body. In the song, I have to find where each tattoo is. It’s a very glamorous song.”
Final thoughts? Ravi exudes confidence, “Bhoologam has the content to match the high standards set by Thani Oruvan. Bhoologam is going to prove my potential as an actor and a star.”