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INTERVIEW | ‘Kathar Basha Endra Muthuramalingam’ is my most political film: Actor Arya

Express News Service

Doing what we love for years together makes us overcome all the hard work because it gives us a mirage of an idyllic state. But it is also the very nature of any job to get monotonous. Actors, who get to explore the lives of many characters through their work, are no exception to this. While several of them develop various methods to assuage the monotony, actor Arya chose fitness.

As much as he has earned the tag of a reliable performer through films like Naan Kadavul, and Sarpatta Parambarai, Arya has also carved an identity of being the numero uno fitness enthusiast in Tamil cinema. “I had always wanted to represent India at the Olympics and was even training myself for it. However, somewhere down the line that path changed. But the drive has been within me for ages, and fitness is what I am.”

Fitness has not only helped Arya take time off from his acting, but has also aided him in keeping up with the strenuous schedules, and never-ending demands of the job. “Acting is physically demanding and mentally straining. The working conditions can be harsh and hours can extend from 12-24 hours at a stretch. It is not easy for our bodies to adapt to these working hours unless we are very much in control of our fitness,” he adds.

In fact, it is this rigorous practice that helped Arya with his recent film, Kathar Basha Endra Muthuramalingam (KBEM) where he was required to shoot multiple action sequences in a continuous schedule of 35 days.

KBEM is a special addition to Arya’s filmography as it is his maiden attempt at a rural mass entertainer and his first collaboration with director Muthaiya. “Many have suggested that I do a proper rural action drama. I was hesitant about it, especially convincing audiences of the authenticity. Yes, I have done Avan Ivan, but it is a Bala sir film. When I was finally ready to do a rural film, KBEM happened.”

While Muthaiya is known for his larger-than-life rural entertainers, he has also been facing criticism about caste glorification in his films. “I understand the title of KBEM might pique curiosity. Also, Muthaiya does have a reputation for doing caste-based films. Of course, the title is sensitive, but he has justified it in the film. If you ask me, this might be my most political film,” says Arya. 

Even though Arya asked Muthaiya to pen a rural-based script instead of the urban-centric script that was narrated to him by the filmmaker, the actor reveals he was wary while working in KBEM. “While acting, I had my doubts about the film because neither have I acted in such films, or even seen them. I wasn’t sure if people will have such thought processes or emotions, or if such situations would actually happen in real life. I realised the importance of having lived-in experiences to understand the values, and nuances of the land, and Muthaiya sir’s presence made things easy,” reveals Arya.

Right from Naan Kadavul to KBEM, Arya has performed many intense characters, which are a far cry from his real-life persona that is calm, casual, and cheery. “Once you get into the mood of the scene with full concentration, you can perform. Now the world is so fast that the moment you say cut, people dive into their phones. To say you live the character is overrated. At the end of the day, there are so many personal things you are concerned about,” says a candid Arya.

This candidness is also seen in the way he deals with the number games in the industry, in which he will soon become a two-decade-old actor. “I don’t do too much work now until it is sensible or something that has an interesting quotient. I don’t do films anymore just for the numbers, be it as a solo lead or part of an ensemble. I am taking it slower than before because people are now thinking twice before visiting theatres, so you cannot treat films as just numbers.”

That being said, Arya still has one wish. He wants to do a full-fledged action film donning the khaki. Even if that dream hasn’t been realised yet, Arya has a couple of interesting projects that mark a series of firsts for him. The actor is set to make his web series debut with Prime Video’s The Village, and his first sequel, Sarpatta Parambarai 2.

Delving into his decision to make his OTT debut, Arya says, “Your characterisation can be well established and there is no hurry to finish your story in two hours.

In films, you need to be quicker; otherwise, you cannot keep the audience invested. But when it comes to series, you get breathing space for writing and performance too. This also gives an actor even more mileage due to its duration. It is like watching a bunch of films.” While still being guarded about his two releases, Arya terms The Village as a “glorified horror that is not for the faint-hearted.”

Signing off by briefly talking about what’s in store for his Kabilan in the Sarpatta sequel, Arya says, “We couldn’t release the first part in theatres due to lockdown. Ranjith sir is working on the script. All I can say now is that this one will definitely be bigger.”

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