In a recent interview with Deccan Chronicle, Arvind Swamy opened up about the perils of stardom as well as the feeling of liberation after starting work afresh. The actor, who stepped into Kollywood at the age of 20 with Mani Ratnam’s Thalapathi (1991), took a break from cinema twice, each time for almost six years. He made a comeback with Ratnam’s Kadal (2013) and has been starring in several projects since then.
Swamy, who received accolades for his performances in the ’90s, said that even when he was new to the industry he had never been interested in stardom or awards. “For me, whatever I do, I believe, I must do it seriously and invest a lot of time to understand and learn. But the fact that you will get all the attention, is something you should be prepared with. I didn’t know how to deal with it. Not that I abused, I was just scared. It started affecting me,” he said.
The actor’s career took off with a series of romantic films like Roja (1992), Bombay (1995), and Minsara Kannavu (1997), because of which he was dubbed as something of a chocolate boy.
Last year too, in an interview with PTI News, Swamy had said that stardom was never his ultimate goal. “Stardom doesn’t appeal to me in any way. Of course, I want people to like my work, but in my mind I’ve consciously created a line where I don’t think of myself as a big star. I don’t expect people to know my name. I don’t get offended if people don’t know me,” he said.
Mani Ratnam brought him back, and this older, more experienced version of himself (what he calls 2.0) feels liberating.
On the heels of the success of his latest film Bogan (starring Jayam Ravi and Hansika Motwani), Swamy says that although he has taken to villainous roles, it’s never simple. “No one offered me a negative role earlier. When I did Thani Oruvan, people were apprehensive as to how I would carry the character of Siddharth Abhimanyu, but I took it up as a challenge and succeeded,” he said, adding that in the older days, it wasn’t easy getting scripts one really wanted. “It was hard to find things that I actually related to. So, I decided to go down the path of trying to learn and evolve.”
The actor has a few projects in the pipeline, including one with director Selvaah where he will play a police officer. He will also star in the Tamil remake of Bhaskar The Rascal. The remake will be directed by Siddique, who had also directed the original Malayalam comedy of errors.
Feature Image: Deccan Chronicle