Based on a true crime incident that happened nearly two decades ago and adding a dose of love to it, Khakee has been filmed. After a lot of ground work, director Vinoth approached actor Karthi, who was excited to play the lead actor of the film. The dubbed version of Tamil film Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru, Khakee will be out for the audience this Friday.
Cop role doesn’t give you the flexibility like the con man roles you’ve played. Why were you attracted to it?
On the sets of one of my films, a cop who was present there shared an incident with me and I was thrilled after learning it. I felt that it could be made as a good film. Soon, Vinoth came to me with a script and it was about the same story I heard but with a commercial angle. Coming to why I was attracted to the role, police go through rigorous training and this turns a normal man into police man. They have been an inspiration to me and to many. I thought it was time to show the sacrifices their families have to make to send the man to serve the country. So, I was happy with the role and the film.
So, the basic crime has been the same? What kind of research has been done to make a film on an incident that took 10 years to be solved?
The actual story is the crime scene. The crime story is something none of us have ever seen before. It took a decade for the cops to solve it and they had no evidence. They travelled from South to North to catch of the culprit. We recruited theatre artistes from UP, Gujarat and other states to show the effort of the police. We met many retired officers who investigated the case for hours.
What do you feel about Cheliya?
I always knew that Cheliya will not make it big at the box office. Mani Ratnam also made it clear the love story is not like every other story. He asked me to completely get out of myself and indulge into the character of ‘VC’. I had to lose weight to fit in the uniform. But for any actor, taking the failure is a little tough. I knew and again learn that life is full of ups and downs. A few people have liked the story of Cheliya and many did not. I personally received many messages from women who appreciated the story which shows the other and painful side of love.
How much did this serious cop drama affect you?
Physically, I had to put on all the weight I lost for Cheliya. I had to look very healthy, fit and actually macho. It took a lot of time. Emotionally, my respect for the police had increased. I learnt about many compromises and sacrifices the police department makes in their line of duty. Now, when I see a police man in scorching sun and doing his duty, I want to ask them if I can offer them something.
Do you look for only those stories which can be a hit in Telugu cinema too if dubbed?
No, not at all! I don’t know why but many stories have been dubbed into Telugu and the audience here have accepted me. I am actually happy for it and this gives me good scope to do bilinguals too. Thanks to the audience here.
Can we expect anymore straight movies in Telugu from you?
Yes, very soon. After Oopiri, I heard a script and it almost went on floors. But due to few reasons, it has been shelved. But soon I will be doing a direct movie in Telugu.
What are your upcoming projects?
These days all the scripts which are offered to me are either about politics or a village drama. This time I have chosen a film in village backdrop and it is titled as Pandiraaj, produced by my brother Surya. On the other hand, I will be pairing with Rakul, again for a love story.