He started his career as a music director but is now also an established actor and producer. Vijay Antony is all set for his next movie Kolaigaran. In conversation with Padma Iyer, he talks about his cinematic journey, his upcoming Tamil film and more
Vijay, you started you career as a music director and today you are an actor and a producer. What decided this career path for you?
When I was a music director, people used to make a lot of changes in my work. When there were good scripts, there weren’t producers who wanted to make those films. And, with any career, there is a journey, there is growth. I wasn’t satisfied with what I was doing. I felt a certain kind of insecurity as a music director. I was dependent on what others were telling me. I could not contribute to a script in that role.
If you don’t have knowledge about that, it is fine. But when you do and you can’t participate in the process, then each day becomes torture. It would be painful when something went wrong and I could do nothing to change it. So I felt that if I took a leadership role, maybe I could make things better.
Another reason was economics and, of course, creative satisfaction. There are people who like my music, and there are people who like me, the person. I am able to connect with them through the characters I play in the films. Then I have been through so much in my career, so I thought why not experience this as well?
Mostly you have essayed intense characters. Was that a deliberate decision?
You must be aware that all the films I have acted in to date have been produced by me. So, the characters I did were my choices. And I have enjoyed every minute of it. Not that I don’t want to do comedy, but a script like that should also come my way, like India Pakistan. It just so happens that I end up with intense movies.
Also, the directors I worked with in these films shared the same ideas as I had and hence I guess these films happened. I connected with these stories on a personal level. I made these films for me and shared that journey with everyone. I liked the characters in these stories and I wanted to live that life for a bit. That’s why I chose those movies.
Tell us about your upcoming film Kolaigaran.
The film is directed by my classmate Andrew (Louis). I had wanted to make a film with him for a long time and it came true with Kolaigaran. He brought a perfect script and there was no reason to say no. At first, it was about helping a friend but when I saw the finished product, I knew that here was a talented actor. I was surprised that the director was able to make such a visually amazing film, way beyond my expectations.
The heroine of the film is Ashima (Narwal) but most importantly, this film gave me the chance to work with Arjun sir. It was an unforgettable experience. I am very lucky to have got the opportunity to interact with so many talented people and through those associations, I have imbibed a lot of positive experiences. Arjun’s presence definitely had an influence on me. His body language, the way he approaches his work… of course, there was learning, but more than that, I enjoyed watching him.
I also want to mention the producer of the film, B Pradeep, who believed in me and my choice of the script. I am grateful that he trusted my instinct and came on board to make the film. G Dhananjayan of BOFTA Mediaworks is marketing and distributing the film.
When you are acting in a film that you are producing, how does the dynamic work? Is there any conflict?
Vijay Antony the producer, while looking at Vijay Antony the actor, is very critical and detached. They are two different entities. I never refer to me, rather I refer to the character and that helps me stay unbiased towards my work as well. Also when the character is good, everyone in the team is working towards enhancing the character and not Vijay Antony. The same is true for Vijay Antony the music director, as well. If the script demands songs, then there will be songs; otherwise, there won’t. I do not let anything become bigger than the story.
Music is what gave you your identity but you have not composed the music of Kolaigaran.
I don’t think of myself as a music director. Actually, I have stopped doing the music of my films. I want to give the opportunity to the many talented musicians who are there today. Another reason is that I have developed an interest in film editing. So, for the next three to four years, I want to focus only on that.
You have dabbled in so many aspects of cinema. Is direction next on the cards?
No plans of getting into direction as there are many amazing directors. My aim is only to present good scripts to the audience and I want to continue to do that. Filmmaking is not a tedious process. If you pick the right script, getting the perfect team on board is not difficult. I have realised that if you make a movie to please others, you may not be successful. But if you make a film that makes you happy, you will make others happy as well.
When I did Kolaigaran, I looked at it from the audience’s perspective. Of course, I am a commercial person and that is exactly why I make films to my satisfaction. But I don’t distract myself over the economics. I do my job well and I know that the rest will follow.