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Now in a new role

Harish Raghavender, has emerged from his behind-the-scenes role as a playback singer, to make his debut as an actor in Arun Pandyan's latest film "Vikadan." In an interview he talks about his twin interests - singing and acting.


IN THE recently released "Paarai", actor Jayaram sings mellifluously, "Naan Oru Kanaa Kanden" (I had a dream). Behind the camera, the silken voice belongs to Harish Raghavender, who says he had never dreamt of becoming an actor, but landed up with a dream debut as a hero in Arun Pandyan's latest offering, "Vikadan", the untold story. He is paired with Gayathri Raghuram in the movie, which is produced and directed by actor Arun Pandyan.

"The role fell on me quite unexpectedly. Star Vijay channel in its morning show, "Muthal Vanakkam" carried an interview in which I featured. Arun Pandyan, who happened to watch the show felt I was suitable for the hero's role in his film. "Watching the interview, I found that you have perfect body language. I can say with confidence that you can act. Have faith in my words," he said. I was initially hesitant to take up the assignment, as I had no prior acting experience, but Arun's words did the trick," says Harish with a boyish smile, adding that during the first two days of the shoot, all was not smooth sailing. "Though I had anchored a show earlier on Raj TV, it took two days for me to adjust to the new environment, especially face the arc lights. On the third day, a crucial scene was shot where I had to emote well. That was a real test and with the guidance of my director I managed the difficult scene quite comfortably," recalls the debutante sitting in his elegant drawing room at his residence in Saligramam in the city.

Contrary to the general belief, Harish does not play the role of a singer in the movie, though he has rendered two songs. "The movie is a thriller. I play the role of a foreign-returned youth, caught in a paradox of mysterious situations back home. There are no conventional villains in the movie and this adds to the mystery and suspense. Arun Pandyan is a police officer on duty to unearth the mystery.

"Vikadan" means "master planner" in Tamil. Who is this master planner, who destroys the peace, and how he gets marginalised forms the main theme. Of course, it is a full-length commercial film with all the ingredients that make it an entertainer."

Now that he has joined the fraternity of film stars, Harish, is taking lessons in dancing. He also visits a gym regularly, to get into shape for a future action role. "I am interested in action films. In "Vikadan", all the action scenes feature Arun Pandyan. I am happy that the industry response is good to the film and my role."

In a career spanning seven years, Harish Raghavender has rendered 400 songs, including devotional numbers. He is a popular singer in Telugu films too and his recent numbers in "Raghavendra" and "Premalo Pavani Kalyan" are chart busters. "I am indebted to Ilayaraja ("Bharathi") and Harris Jeyaraj ("Minnale") for the break they gave me. Music is my passion. I cannot sacrifice it for any other career. I would like acting to be a parallel to my singing career."

M. L. NARASIMHAM

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