Listening to Vijay Sethupathi speak about cinema, choice of films and life can be cathartic. “I never had expectations from my films. What matters is whether I am part of a film that I am happy with or I am proud of,” he says. The man, whose work is synonymous with a grounded approach to his craft, sips a cup of black coffee and indulges in a quick chat. In his inimitable style, Sethupathi adds that he treats “success and failure, profit and loss, happy occurrences and unhappy ones just the same.”
Excerpts from a conversation:
Sindhubaadh is your third film with SU Arun Kumar after Pannaiyarum Padminiyum and Sethupathi.
After the success of Sethupathi, Arun and I wanted to work together. I share a special bond with him. He is like my brother. I knew the outline of Sindhubaadh even before he had narrated it to ten other actors. It has a beautiful emotional connect between the husband and wife characters. Somehow, the project didn’t take off and I didn’t know why. Then, I myself thought of doing it. To be honest, Arun didn’t tell me the full story until I started dubbing for the film. Another reason I was excited for Sindhubaadh is Yuvan Shankar Raja. Though I am an ardent fan of Ilaiyaraaja sir, I have a liking for Yuvan’s music.
Tell us about working with your son, Surya.
For a long time, I tried keeping my family—particularly my son and daughter—away from stardom and films. Bringing Surya on board was never my decision. Arun wanted to cast him after watching him in Naanum Rowdy Thaan and felt he would be apt for this role. But as a father, I was apprehensive and told Arun to rethink—because my wife and I still thought he was not all that mature to handle fame and pressure as of yet. I suggested for an alternative—but Arun was stubborn that we retain him. I yelled at Surya, a couple of times on the sets, but Arun was patient. Surya likes Arun and it’s vice-versa. (Grins)