It Feels Like Home: Arvind Swami On Working With Mani Ratnam

The CCV actor really enjoyed playing Varadhan!

Arvind Swami was all of 21 when he walked into the sets of Mani Ratnam’s film Thalapathi, a multi-starrer featuring superstar Rajinikanth and Mammootty. While his wasn’t the main role, playing a young district collector, Arvind Swami’s performance had captured all the attention. His good looks, his terrific presence on the screen, and body language were instrumental in him becoming Kollywood’s chocolate boy of the 90’s.

He recently starred in Mani Ratnam’s Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, his 9th one with Mani Ratnam – a collaboration that has created significant projects such as Roja, Bombay, Alaipayuthe, and Kadal. In CCV, he plays Varadhan, the eldest brother who has a seething temper. More than that, his role was a total changeover from the usual – someone who loves his wife dearly, is flawed and not faithful, but the devotion for family and succession goes beyond his anger.

Speaking about how Varadhan came about, Arvind Swami says:

“It took a lot from me; it was not easy because there’s a lot of intensity in the film. Varadhan is on one side, there’s a lot of travel that happens and it’s not a one-dimensional kind of role. We had a lot of discussions, Mani and I. We spoke together for a while to sketch the whole thing. We created references for ourselves regarding Vardhan and as we went along, we kept developing the character. It came out well.”

His family, who love watching him on screen, were very excited about his role and happy for Mani Ratnam too. “My daughter said the pre-climax was quite intense. The best accolade I got from Mani was him telling me: “You get Varadhan better than I do,” he shares.

On working a multi-starrer, Arvind Swami is quick enough to remove all the doubts. “I started off with a multi-starrer in Thalapathi. I’m secure about my craft and my role, so I’m not really concerned who else is there. Concerned in the sense, I am positively happy with multi-starrers and who I get to work with,” he says.

Having worked with Mani for 9 films, Arvind Swami is quick enough to clear that there is no favouritism involved. “If I fit into the film, I will be a part of it. I started out with him and I didn’t know what movies were or what acting was. For me, it was like going back home. I’d love to work with him again and again and if it’s the only work I get with him, then I’ll take because I enjoy working with him. He throws challenges at me and makes sure that he encourages me to reach those objectives that he has for the characters.”

When you quiz him about his favourite MR film, it comes as no surprise really. “Thalapathi was the first time I entered a movie set. Kadal helped me in extending my career and helped me feel physically confident. To me, it has more meaning in life than the most successful ones.”

For the full interview, watch Friday Talkies on our YouTube Channel:


Also read CCV’s review here!

Also read: A Look At Some Of The Best Movies Of Arvind Swamy & Mani Ratnam!

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