Bharath, who’s got a bunch of films lined up, tells me of his hope that one of them will give his career a much-needed fillip
Sometimes, Bharath admits to wondering where it all went wrong. The years pass, but the hits refuse to come. “I have tried my best to evolve with the times,” he says. He wonders if he chose some wrong scripts. Some other times, the films he rejected went on to become hits—like Thiruvilaiyaadal Aarambam that went to Dhanush. “But I know there’s no use thinking about this. Dhanush refused Kaadhal, and it came to me. It all evens out.”
While Bharath has struggled to live up to the early promise he showed in films like Kaadhal and Veyyil, other actors have made their debuts and become bigger stars. “These things do run through my mind. I’m human, after all. I realise that a different hero is popping up every Friday. But all I can do, all I must do, is focus on my career.” And that’s a piece of advice from his mentor, director Shankar, who he diligently meets every year on his birthday. I ask if the temptation to ask Shankar for a role is difficult to resist. “The films he’s doing right now are larger than life. I’m sure he has me on his mind.”
Bharath knows that a hit is overdue. “I’ve managed to survive all these years, but mere survival isn’t enough.” And for that, he’s counting on the four films he’s finished shooting: Simba, Ennodu Vilayadu, Kadugu and Pottu. I ask him his pick of the lot, expecting the usual ‘they’re all good films’ response, but he throws a surprise: “Simba and Kadugu.” Simba, he says, is a stoner film. “It will be visually different, and has a lot of dark humour. My character is a dopehead and hallucinates a lot; one of the highlights is a comedy track that has me imagining Premgi Amaren’s character as a dog.”
In Vijay Milton’s Kadugu, he plays a boxer. “Milton was the cinematographer of Kaadhal. His debut film, Azhagai Irukkirai Bayamai Irukkirathu, was also with me. So, it’s great to work with him again.” Bharath doesn’t care that Milton’s last film, 10 Endrathukulla, was a disaster. “Cinema is about ups and downs. It’s all about helping one another.” In his quest for a hit, Bharath has also bitten into the horror pie with Pottu. “It’s a commercial horror film like Kanchana.”
This is Bharath’s most productive year in a decade. “I have realised that I should do more projects each year. I made the mistake of spending too much time on films like Nepali and Ainthu Ainthu Ainthu. Tamil cinema has changed and I’m trying to keep up with it.” He says it was easier to deliver a hit film ten years ago. “You just needed a good script and decent distributors. But today, a film has to be technically good, it has to be marketed well, and it has to be released on the right date too. The number of releases has gone up, as short film makers have found it easy to make feature films.” And that’s an area Bharath hasn’t really tapped into. “Directors like Karthik Subbaraj and Nalan Kumarasamy have changed cinema. It’s a difficult group to penetrate, and also, I guess I haven’t been able to interest them yet. Perhaps once I give a hit?”
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