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Vijay Sethupathi On His Assassin’s Role in Navarasa



Vijay Sethupathi

Vijay Sethupathi On His Assassin’s Role in Navarasa

As Dheena, the silently  smouldering  guilt-stricken murderer in Edhiri  the Karuna episode of  Mani Ratnam’s omnibus Navarasa,  Vijay Sethupathi kills  it.  Literally.

As a man  who craves for atonement for his sin, Vijay Sethupathi’s face is a  map of  the human heart.

“Luckily for me   Bejoy Nambiar is a  very democratic director. He listened  to my suggestions  . They may not have been all great  suggestions. But they were interesting. After the shooting was over, Bejoy called to say, “Whatever you suggested ,Vijay Sethupathi Sir is  all very good for the film.’ Thank God  the dictatorial  directors are  getting rare.  Abhi bhi hai…whatever I say is  the final word. They still exist. I  can’t work with those directors. For me filmmaking is a collaborative effort. I always have suggestions to make, and yes  I will be  directing my own film soon. What stops  me? Only my busy schedules  as  an actor.”

In  Edhiri, Vijay Sethupathi  contributed quite  a lot. “I wrote my own dialogues. Even that  Tamil song which Prakash Raj  sang , I chose it for  him.It’s a famous song from an  old Tamil film. I  gave it to  him with the lyrics and he  memorized it.It’s such a pleasure to work with  veterans  like Ravathy ‘M’aam and Prakash Sir.  They  bring with  themselves so  much experience and talent.”

How does  Vijay Sethupathi see his  character Dheena in Edhiri? “As a victim, Sir,  as  a  victim of  circumstances. He  kills  because he is cornered  . When pushed against the wall, he  retaliates.He has no other choice. I saw  my character as  Karn in the  Mahabharat who is  forced to  kill and  Lord Krishna explains why it is sometimes imperative to take  to the  weapon.Dheena wouldn’t have dealt that fatal blow on his victim’s head if he wasn’t  cornered.  Sometimes justice  is more important than staying on the right side of the law.”

  But Vijay Sethupathi believes  life must not  make  a  man an eternal  protester.  “You have to choose your battles in life  carefully. I keep telling my children  not to waste their time in frivolous fights. If you are  making  a journey of a 1000 kms and you keep  getting down from your car to fight every time  someone  overtakes  you  recklessly, you will  never get where you want to in  life,.”

 It is  Dheena’s silences which speak  the loudest

Says Vijay, “That’s the way I wanted it to be. I wanted the audience to  hear my character’s  silent screams  of protest. Like Om Puri  in Aakrosh.I always believe  the words come in the way of my  performances. I  always feel I  speak best  through my  silences.”

Doing Navarasa was a learning experience for Vijay Sethupathi. “There is so much unspoken anger  and unshed tears  in my character.I  wanted  to know  Dheena better. I  didn’t want to play him. I wanted to know him.”

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