In an exclusive conversation with Latha Srinivasan of NewsX, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief MK Stalin’s son Udhayanidhi Stalin discusses about his entry into the film industry, his role in politics, political situation in Tamil Nadu, the buzz over Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth’s entry into politics.
Here are the excerpts of Udhayanidhi Stalin’s interview to NewsX:
Latha/NewsX: Tell us about your latest film?
Udhayanidhi: My last film was ‘Saravanan Irukka Bayamaen’ which did pretty decent at the Box Office as far as the budget was concerned. My next film is ready to release on August 11 titled ‘Podhuvaga En Manasu Thangam’. It has been directed by a new director Thalapathy Prabhu.
Latha/NewsX: You are doing the film ‘Maheshinte Prathikaaram’ in Tamil with director Priyadarshan. Going back a little, you were producing and distributing films, when you were into the film industry in 2008, but in 2012 you decided to become an actor. Why that shift?
Udhayanidhi: It happened by accident. It was not pre-planned. All credits to KS Ravikumar. When we were shooting ‘Aadhavan’ he asked me to be in a scene, he wanted me to act with him in that scene. I had my hesitation but he didn’t leave me or gave other options. So we did it and some people called me and said actually I had done a good job. I was not too serious about it.
I got a chance to release ‘Boss Engira Bhaskaran’ directed by M Rajesh. So when we were sitting and talking, I told him that I loved your direction. So he told me that he had a line for me and asked me if I would do it. I agreed. And that’s how it took off. And before the release of ‘Oru Kal Oru Kannadi’, I never thought that it will be such a huge success. So I never took it very seriously and after the success I was never able to go back into just production.
Latha/NewsX: Do you think you have grown as an actor? Initially you were criticised and got a lot of bad reviews.
Udhayanidhi: I still get bad reviews but I think as an actor I don’t know whether I have grown as an actor, especially after ‘Manithan’ and now Priyadarshan sir calling me as an actor to do a film with him in itself is a great honour for me. I don’t know how I have done that film. I seriously hope it works and that I don’t disappoint him. But that has given me a lot of confidence. I have taken all the good praises as well as bad reviews, but I don’t take that into my mind because I usually concentrate on what I am doing next.
Latha/NewsX: You have grown up seeing your grandfather (M Karunanidhi) in politics, your father (MK Stalin) who made his entry into politics at the age of 23. Why did you not go automatically into the political arena and instead chose a different path?
Udhayanidhi: Lot of people do not know this, I was actually into politics not very active politics … I have gone for campaigning with my father, grandfather and also individually to constituencies. I think for all the elections that dad has stood there, I have been into campaigning, including door to door campaigning, because dad cannot go to every house. He can cover the streets but not every house. So I used to go with my friends and family and people don’t know that. About the cinema industry, it’s actually has always been in family. Dad has produced many films, acted in TV serials, nobody knows about it. He has acted in two films, though very small characters. So it has always been there I think. I wanted to get into production so I asked my dad about it.
Latha/NewsX: There has always been a question of when will you get into politics because you come from such a strong political family in Tamil Nadu.
Udhayanidhi: I have never been out of politics. I still follow politics, watch news. I try to watch dad’s speeches and I think that’s enough to be into politics. But right now I am concentrating on films. I want whatever I am doing right now has to be right. I am not planning anything. It’s not like I can’t say that I won’t come into politics, but right now I am into cinema and I want to do good films. I want producers to be happy, want the audience to be happy.
Also speaking on the political situation in Tamil Nadu, Udhayanidhi said that there is no political vacuum.