After impressing the audience with incredible performances in Mardaani 2 and the web series Human, Vishal Jethwa is back on the big screen as Venky in Revathy’s Salaam Venky. The film stars Kajol as his mother. The Free Press Journal caught up with the actor for an exclusive chat. Excerpts:
After Mardaani 2 and Human, how did you commit to such a heavy character like Venky?
I believe in giving my 100 per cent in whatever I do in general. Even in the gym, I give my best else I don’t pick up anything. I give credit to the film’s producer Suuraj (Sinngh) sir for having faith in me that I can play someone like Venky on screen. People, who have an eye for a great actor, they won’t say he is good with negative roles, they will say he is a good actor.
Was it difficult for you to break that image of a villain after your big screen debut in Mardaani 2?
I never thought of it that way. In fact, actors like me are happy to even get work in the first place. I feel choices arrive when I have many options. I am okay to do any sort of a role but now I started getting offers for the narrations to begin with. Earlier, I was called for auditions. One should wait for the right opportunity if you are financially stable. If you aren’t, then one shouldn’t wait for too long for the right opportunity.
I believe you get work from your previous work. If you are talented, then you will succeed. I played an antagonist in Mardaani 2, but its director Gopi Puthran sir told me that I am like clay and water. Even Revathy ma’am felt it. While playing the character in Mardaani 2, I played several other characters and those weren’t negative. Revathy ma’am is a beautiful blend of an actor-director, so she understood my range.
You got a chance to previously work with Rani Mukerji and now with Kajol. Do you consider yourself lucky?
I generally feel nervous to go and meet a big star whom I have grown up watching on screen. I don’t get nervous between action and cut because I do my homework. I was so new in Mardaani 2 hence I was scared the most with Rani ma’am. I couldn't afford any mistakes back then. I told Kajol ma’am. ‘I will take two to three days to become comfortable with you’. She was like, ‘Don’t worry, I am chill’.
Salaam Venky is very high on emotions. How do you take the subject of life-death and mother-son relationship as an actor?
Funnily, if I do light hearted or casual scenes, I feel, I haven’t worked on anything. People see me where they could see challenges. I have done several emotional projects on television. It is easy for me. As an actor, I can’t complain about the kind of roles I get. It’s my job. I wish to play a kinnar with a very sensible director someday.
Producer Suuraj Sinngh on Salaam Venky
Suuraj Sinngh with Revathy |
“The only reason to choose Salaam Venky as my maiden production was to start from something and somewhere. Nothing could have been better than to start with a real and inspiring story. Getting Revathyji was more difficult honestly since I chased her for almost two years and to convince her to direct the film was a task too. She agreed to do it after reading the script. After she came on board, everything else came into place. I and Revathyji wanted an actress who herself is a mother and can justify the role to the maximum. Also, we never had any option apart from Kajol ma’am.
“I agree, it is difficult to get people to the theatres post pandemic. But as makers, we all have to come together to serve great content to the audiences and then only we can change the scenario. I want to back content that is relatable, celebratory and inspiring but entertaining obviously.”
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