Ashok Selvan has had a rather interesting career. Throughout his decade-long acting career, Ashok has avoided being framed or labeled. This is a huge achievement especially for mainstream Tamil actors. He has managed to find a special place for himself in the sea of Tamil film stars. In an exclusive chat with Pink Villa, the actor spoke candidly about his own take on his success and the tag of being a star with money to spare. He also talked about his favorite directors and actors, Revashi and Kamal Haasan.
You mentioned that there were a few people who questioned your playing Pol Tozil because so many jokes were made about your character. So when you usually decide to do a film, do you decide entirely on your own or do you consult with others?
If I am 100% convinced of my idea, I will not consult anyone. In most cases this is the case. But sometimes we ask for advice from people we trust. Ultimately, the decision is still mine. I listen to them sometimes because I want to know what they are thinking. One of the things they said when I told them what Pol Tozil’s storyline and what my character and Lord Salas’ character would be like is now a multi-starring or double-hero movie. This means that you don’t need to create So people wanted to say a lot of things, but I was convinced that the script would make a good movie, so I didn’t listen to them.
You mentioned that your favorite actors are Revati and Kamal Haasan. Are there qualities of theirs that you would like to emulate or absorb in your career?
I have a lot to learn from my seniors. Kamal Sah is one of the best actors not only in Tamil cinema but also in India and even the world. He has a lot to learn from him every day. He wants to absorb his character of pursuing art in a very free and ambitious way. If you look at his career, he’s always tried to do things no one else has. He doesn’t even consider the results of that effort. He keeps trying to do something different. I am so inspired by his relentless pursuit of excellence. In the case of Mrs. Revati, I love how she brings a certain charisma to every role. It’s so easy. As an actor, I understand that it takes a lot of effort to make it easier. So that quality of her inspires me.
Your co-actor, Nikheera Vimal, said Vignesh Raja narrated Pol Tozil’s script with background music. Was your narration equally interesting?
My narration was the script that the director gave me along with the pilot they shot. Because the director and I have a long-standing relationship. We’ve known each other since college. There was no need for music to play during the narration. He gave me the script and told me to read it and tell him what I thought. So that’s all that happened. I read I saw a pilot film of what he did at the time, and I loved it.
Do you usually prefer reading scripts to being narrated?
It happens both ways. But now I prefer reading. Because sometimes when they narrate, some people have a knack for telling stories and some people don’t, and it’s so frustrating. Not all good narrators have to make great movies, and vice versa. So now I prefer to read it to get a better understanding of the whole thing.
You said that actors learn a lot when working with legends just by observing them. So what did you observe and what did you learn from Sarathkumar?
The sincere attitude towards his work is very moving. He’s been in 150 movies and has been here for the last 40 years. But the way he approached Pol Tozil, or his personality, was very sincere. He was so well prepared and it was so moving. I somehow thought that he would be relaxed on set when he turned 60 or 65, but when I saw him working hard on his role, I thought that I should be like this when I turned 70. I was. He has a political party, a production company, and is also an actor, so he’s been working on different aspects of his life, including how he multitasks. The way he handles life is so inspiring.
Do you base your choices primarily on how fans react when you’re offered a script?
No, I don’t think so. I’m just wondering if tickets for this movie are worth buying for the general public. Because I really value the 200 rupees they spend for me. We value time more than money. So I’m not really into fans or well-intentioned people. I just want everyone who comes to the theater and sees my film to enjoy it. I want their time to be meaningful. More than that, I want to see if it pushes my creativity and boundaries. Because that’s how you grow as an artist. Therefore, these two factors are more important than others.
How important are profitable star tags to you?
This is very important as it will determine your future projects. I want to make an ambitious project, so I also consider the box office. But with that being said, as an artist, you can’t just commit to the box office. You should also challenge your limits in terms of creativity. That way, you can keep going without burning out. So it’s kind of a balancing act that you need to do. This deal is based in some way on the hero market, so a commercially successful movie really matters. If you take the west side, it’s not. But here’s how to plan a movie budget for who should be starring and how much should be spent. Everything is based on the main character’s market. It’s designed that way here. For me to do a more ambitious project, I need to show a movie. So that’s the sweet spot, so that’s very important. The sweet spot is where your movies are shown, loved and loved by critics. I aim for that with all my films, some work, some don’t, but that’s what it’s about.
How do you react when a movie is good, but the box office drops unrelatedly? How do you deal with it?
To be honest, it’s very heartbreaking. That’s what happened in my film Nitham Oru Vaana. A lot of effort and sincerity went into it. But while it worked great in the OTT space, it didn’t work in theater. So, it was heartbreaking, but when I did well in the OTT space, it gave me even more hope that if I do my job honestly, it will never go to waste. it will come back to you. Maybe not now, maybe a little later. That’s the lesson I got from it. In some cases, even during filming, we know that the film is not up to par. I feel the energy that is not stored. But with certain movies, the energy can be so good and you can get so excited while you’re shooting. There is a lot to expect from this movie. You expect the film to move people’s hearts and generate numbers. When you don’t, it hurts a lot. But over time, I came to understand that this is how this business works. Your favorite movies don’t have to go up in numbers, and vice versa. But it still hurts when the movie doesn’t work.
Pol Tozil’s director Vignesh Raja said shooting a thriller movie is particularly challenging for the actors due to the nighttime shooting. As an actor who has made films in many different genres, how do you feel about that?
I don’t necessarily think so. Even thrillers can be made in broad daylight. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s difficult for an actor because of the genre. But continuous night shooting is certainly a bit tiring. We shoot from 6pm to 6am and then try to go to bed in the morning, which is very difficult. Then I have to come again in the evening. Shooting at night for 36 consecutive days is a bit of a challenge. For Por Thozhil, at least, it was the fact that we vaguely knew we were building something special that kept us going.
Did you have a hunch while working on Por Thozhil that the film would do well?
Intuition is what you feel unconsciously. It’s like listening. You can’t close your ears. Therefore, intuition is formed when doing certain things. From the time I was filming ‘Pol Tozil’, I knew this movie was going to be special.
You said it’s a big responsibility to make a solo hero movie in Tamil. So when you do a multi-starring movie like Pol Tozil, or another language movie like the villain in Malacca, do you have more freedom?
It’s definitely because you’re just focused on your role and how you play it. The result of the movie doesn’t matter and you shouldn’t care. It runs on the shoulders of Lord Mohanlal and Lord Priyadarshan. It was very relaxing for me. Likewise, as a lead actor, the responsibility falls on your shoulders. But so is glory, right? So with more responsibility comes more glory. All things have pros and cons. It wasn’t until I shot Marrakkar that I realized I had freedom. I didn’t think too much about how the movie would turn out, so I was able to shoot with a relaxed feeling. This guy knew the two pillars were there and they would take care of it. But when the movie comes out, it puts a certain kind of thrill and pressure on the lead actors. Because life changes when the movie comes out. So it is also very thrilling. As an adventure buff, I really like it.
Actors usually say that if their films were made in another language, they would not appear in the remake because they have already experienced that world. If Por Thozhil were to be remade in another language, would you be willing to participate in it?
It depends on the team and who does it. It might try to do certain things it didn’t do in the original, so I never mind doing it. Therefore, certain parts can be changed when remaking in other languages. It will be pretty interesting.
How has your approach to success changed from the early stages of your career to now?
At first it was just going out, partying, having fun and screaming. I really lived it. Success was something new to me at the time, and I think that was the era. Well, success means good sleep and the satisfaction of thinking you made the right choice. Look for the next
You mentioned that you are conscious of whether the female characters in your films are well written. Can you elaborate on that?
I’m not advocating writing female roles or writing female roles for that reason, but I do believe that all characters need to be well written in order for a movie to be good. , always making sure the female roles are well written, especially in this case age and time. It’s time to write good characters for women, and that’s important. There are always many strong women around me. In Nitham Oru Vaanam, Oh My Kadavule, or in any of my films, their presence is always there. When a female character is taken on, I usually tell her to extend this a little bit more so I can put her in the play a bit more. I usually do. I always tell them to go with good actors. I think that’s also the best way to make a movie better. it’s not for anything else. I think the movie would be better if the characters were well drawn.
Are there any directors you would like to work with?
Vikramaditya Motwane, Martin Scorsese, Rijo Jose Pericelli, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Rajamouli, Mani Ratnam and the list goes on and on.
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