Vijay Sethupathi On Winning The National Award

The National award for Vijay Sethupathi  for  Best Supporting Actor for his performance  in  Thiagarajan Kumararaja’s  Tamil  game-changer  Super Deluxe as a transgender  man coming out , to the utter confusion  of his  little son, is not only richly deserved, it is an acknowledgement of the growing socio-political awareness  of  diversity in sexuality .

Akshay Kumar  also  played  a transgender in 2020 in Laxmmi.  However Vijay Sethupathi’s performance is a  class  act.Expressing his  joy over the National award  for a  performance that broke  many taboo barriers, Vijay  Sethupathi spoke to me  on the morning  after the  National award was announced.

 He was  thankful to his  Super Deluxe team  for attempting the seemingly impossible. “I want  to thank my director  Thiagarajan Kumararaja for the way  my role in Super Deluxe was  written  and   how  it  turned out. He wrote  and  executed  it really well. When  you have such  a strong character  on paper, playing the role becomes relatively easy for  the actor.”

Did Vijay have any reservations about  playing the transgender Shilpa  in Super Deluxe?  “None at all. As  an actor  I am always  hungry. I am constantly in search  of roles that will take me out  of  the comfort zone. The safe  roles  bore me to death. I want to  explore the darker  side of  the human personality. That’s why  I  take  up villains’ parts. I want to  explore what makes them  what they are.”

 Was  it difficult  for Vijay to dress up and behave  like  a woman? “Not at all. Once  I got into  the Saree I was  thinking and behaving like Shilpa. Perhaps when   you say you don’t see VijaySethupathi on screen this is what  you mean. When I was playing Shilpa I  was Shilpa.The credit must go  only to  the director   because I had no idea  how  to approach the  character. I am so blessed  to have  played Shilpa. I hope  this  National award will  encourage  more people to watch  Super Deluxe. The more people see it the more  the awareness  of  women like  Shilpa  trapped in men’s bodies. ”

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