The third time is the charm, let's say, when Jiiva smiles and clears her throat to answer a question Seeru, the film by Vels Film International, released this Friday.
The first two attempts are interrupted if an inattentive assistant steps into the center of the picture with a water bottle before the video light switches to snooze mode.
However, the actor prefers to see the brighter side of things and begins: "Seeru is very important to me at this point. It's been a long time since I made an action film with a lot of family values, ”he says, adding that the story will resemble his previous films Thenavattu (2008) and Rowthiram (2011).
Jiiva did not have the best years in 2019 because of its two theatrical releases (Kee and gorilla) bombed at the box office.
The actor has made a total of four films in the previous three years, which suggests a trend that may slow things down for him compared to 2016, when three of his films were released.
It did not help that his films always seemed to have had financial disputes before they were released. Kee was a victim of it, and so it is Gypsy – his film with the national award-winning filmmaker Raju Murugan – a project on which he relied to get out of this difficult career phase.
"I'm kind of used to these financial problems now," he says when we notice it Gypsy, whose audio launch took place in May 2019, missed the planned release date on January 24 (the production team still has to confirm a newly scheduled date).
"[[[[Gypsy]also had some censorship issues, but that was sorted. I expected that [censor] Trouble. I used to think I should be in the US or Australia when the film is released, ”underlined his comment with a smile that demonstrated the volatility of political comments in Gypsy,
"But I'm an actor. I have to finish my films and keep going. I think we should have better infrastructure so as not to stop films [from being released]"He states.
But he's fine.
The actor will make his Bollywood debut in April with the film Kabir Khan. 83, Ranveer Singh makes headlines in this film about a star-studded cast documenting the achievements of the cricket team that won the 1983 World Cup in England.
Although Jiiva, son of producer RB Choudary, can claim a North Indian ancestry, he admits that he has limited knowledge of the Hindi language. It is what prevented him from exploring opportunities in other language industries, particularly Bollywood.
"I speak accented Hindi. I prefer to speak Tamil. I just made a Malayalam film (Keerthi chakra 2006) because my character spoke Tamil. Even 83 (where he plays the cricketer Kris Srikkanth) I agreed because I was free to speak Tamil, ”says Jiiva.
To the 83, the actor and the rest of the cast had to complete training sessions at Dharmashala in Himachal Pradesh, which Kabir Khan said for someone like Jiiva, who claims that he has "no exposure" who plays the sport other than his street cricket version was considered essential.
It was all fun and games when the crew practiced with nets, but when it was time to see the cinematic equivalent of West Indian bowling legend Joel Garner on camera, the actor was distraught.
"We were saved on the nets, but when we were outside the ball started dancing," says Jiiva in his hostile style, referring to swinging variations of the cricket ball.
Strictness of the cinema
In his work it is a rule of thumb to make great efforts only for the enjoyment of the audience to achieve almost perfection. It can also make the filmmaking process cumbersome.
"Look, it's not easy. I don't wake up in the morning to do one dabba (colloquial term; means irrelevant) film. Try filming and editing a scene. You will be so tired. I shot in the UK for four months (e.g. 83), and when I came back my son had grown two inches. I miss a lot, ”he adds.
On the anvil
- In the works for Jiiva after 83 is Kalathil Santhipom, produced by his home banner Super Good Films, where his co-star Arulnithi is. The filming for this film has been completed. “It's a typical Super Good project. A funny film based on friendship. It is also based on the sport of Kabaddi. I play a relaxed character while Arulnithi plays an action role. It will differ from the thriller genre films that Arulnithi is known for.
- Another film starring Jiiva and produced by Super Good is also in the pre-production phase.
Jiiva grew up in a household where the discussion about films was the main conversation. He wants more Tamil filmmakers to work to improve the sound technology (using sync sound) in their products.
He would also prefer fresh content to come through (he makes a temporary comment on how stories can be filtered out of books).
Why is there a shortage of Tamil filmmakers who convert books into films, as is common in Hollywood and to some extent in Bollywood?
"Producers don't read books here," laughs Jiiva, adding, "if they had the practice of reading books, they would know the treasure trove of stories available. But there is only a desire to invest in a film after looking at it on a favorite combination in their heads. They'll say this hero seems lucky and will put all his money into him just to find that he's suddenly become an unfortunate hero, "he laughs.
The "combination" fetish extends beyond the producer's room.
"Even heroes. First of all, actors should start believing in writers. They now believe in directors and also in their preferred combination of a heroine, ”he says.
Such a culture, in turn, allows poorer-quality filmmakers to get into the system, which, as expected, doesn't get Jiiva too annoying.
“In the beginning there was the job of an assistant director, where you stuck to a team for six or seven films. They learned the working culture in the first film, then directing, various filmmaking techniques, interacting with the cameraman and then the producer in subsequent films, before they were mature enough to handle the director's cloak. It was this experience that made you a better director. Knowing how to place the camera for a shot is not enough. It is important to know how to deal with people on the sets, ”he adds.
Jiiva likes to identify with his party animal spirit. "I go quietly and go out. I don't like looking around and stuff. I also go to music festivals to listen to some good DJs like Solomon and Amen, ”he says.
This interest in music has also manifested itself in the desire to learn guitar. Jiiva started his class while playing the nomad role Gypsy, but stayed with it because he sees life as "pretty boring" when he doesn't shoot, and also because playing the guitar is a "very therapeutic" experience.
“The guitar was my best friend when I was shooting in the UK 83, It feels good. That's why I hired a music teacher when I returned. I can play three chords and now I learn all symbols (music registers) and learn something about the families "c", "d", "e" and "f". But don't ask me if I should play, ”he smiles.
The actor has been making films for 17 years and was only 36 in the past month. He feels "pretty good" as he gets older. In his words: “When I was in my twenties, I felt like I was in my thirties. At the moment I feel like I am in my twenties. "