KARTHIK AND POONGOTHAI TALK ABOUT THEIR COMMON INTERESTS
`I love acting, but not in films'
I am in love with films and in fact, am in the process of writing a screenplay Karthik
Karthik and Poongothai have a lot in common. They are both young and P.C. Sreeram's "Vaanam Vasappadum" seems to have given them a toehold in tinseltown. They are both theatre persons too. Until a while ago, she ran a theatre group called `Stage Craft.' He runs `Evam', a theatre group that is growing from strength to strength. The similarities end there. While Karthik thinks his acting career has just taken off, Poongothai seems convinced hers is virtually over. "I recently acted in a film, which probably is my first and last," she says. Has one film blunted her passion for acting?
S.R. Ashok Kumar finds out.
Poongothai: You know what! The day "Vaanam Vasappadum" hit the silver screen, I received a bunch of 100 white roses, with a red rose added for good measure. The next day I received another bunch. This time the combination was different - 100 red roses and one white rose. Ever since, I have been trying to figure out who could have sent those beautiful gifts! (Looks suspiciously at Karthik. In the film, Karthik lavishes flowers on her. At every turn, someone or the other presents her with a bouquet of flowers, at Karthik's behest).
Karthik: (His eyes widen in surprise) Hey, don't look at me that way. I did not send those flowers. (With an impish smile) I believe in spontaneous expression of love. Sending flowers is not a spontaneous act. There is a lot of planning involved in it. I enjoy proposing to beautiful girls on stage or back stage, when they least expect it. Tell me, buddy, what do you think are the qualities that make an ideal man?
Poongothai: For most men, it is easy to love a woman when she is young and beautiful, but not so easy when she grows old. An ideal or perfect man, if ever there is one, would look beyond the skin and remain steadfast. Your idea of a perfect woman?
Karthik: Anybody who can put up with me is an ideal woman (laughs). Come to think of it, `an ideal woman' can exist only in one's imagination. I am realistic. I just want my woman to be an all-rounder. She should be a home-maker as well as a career woman. She should be a super heroine, who can handle just about anything. When do you plan to settle down?
Poongothai: Not in the near future! But whenever I settle down, I will not give up my career. I feel equal to the task of balancing home and career. And it does not necessarily have to be a love marriage. I believe that, by virtue of experience, parents can make a better choice than you or I can. However, I will not blindly toe their line. I will consider accepting a proposal, only if the boy meets my expectations.
Karthik: Like me, you began your acting career in theatre. And when you did your first film, I am sure you must have been making a mental note of the differences between acting on stage and in cinema.
Poongothai: You are right. In theatre, the actors make or break a play. In films, they are just tools in the hands of the director.
Karthik: I agree with you. In films, the actor's role is limited. The medium belongs to the director. Your plans for the future?
Poongothai: I have many and I am trying to prioritise them. As I have developed a taste for film making, I am all set to pursue a two-month course at Harvard, which is an intensive hands-on film programme. I already hold a Masters in Mass Communication, which I am sure will be very useful. In cinema, I would like to be behind the camera rather than in front of it. I may take up production or direction. I love acting, but not in films. Unless I come across a role that's really after my heart, I will not wear the greasepaint.
Karthik: (Shaking his head vigorously) Surely I am in trouble. People out there may jump to the conclusion that you are staying away from films because of me.
Poongothai: (Placing a reassuring hand on his shoulder) You are a perfect gentleman. All of them in the P. C. Sreeram unit were nice to work with. I also enjoyed the company of artistes such as Revathi, Nasser, Vijayakumar and `Delhi' Ganesh. My decision has nothing to do with "Vaanam Vasappadum." The fact is, I don't particularly enjoy wearing make-up, running around trees, looking pretty and being a prop for the hero. In "Vaanam Vasappadum," I got to play a powerful character. Will such luck follow me all my career? I am sure it will not. Then, if you are an actress, rumours will shadow you. I am a sensitive person who cries bitterly at the slightest provocation. These are the reasons for my decision to keep away from acting. What are you up to these days?
Karthik: I have fallen in love with films. I have acted in one more film. Though it is a small role Mani Ratnam's "Yuva" it is a significant one. I am trying to widen my knowledge of filmmaking. I am learning how to write a screenplay. In fact, I am in the process of writing one. Meanwhile, `Evam' is coming up with a production called `Death,' which is taking up all my time.
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