Srikkant, popularly known as Rojakoottam Srikkant (after his successful debut Rojakoottam), is described as the most happening actor of the new generation. His second film April Maathathil was also a hit at the box-office.
Mani Ratnam then roped in Srikkant for his latest love story.
Meanwhile, Srikkant is looking forward to Manasellam, which releases on March 28, says Shobha Warrier:
How did the Mani Ratnam film come about?
I had been to the audio release of Mounam Pesithe. Somebody asked Mani Sir when he would direct a film with Kamal Haasan. He replied, 'Very soon.'
I thought, 'God, if only I got a chance to act in his film!'
The next morning, I got a call from Mani Sir's office saying that he wanted to meet me.
What was your initial reaction?
I was shocked. I thought someone was playing a prank on me. I asked if she was really from Mani Sir's office. She said yes. 'But he is going to direct Kamal Sir', I said.
She told me, 'First, there will be a film with youngsters like you.'
I was very nervous when I went there. He asked me to do a screen test. There were many others along with me. He is such a professional that he showed a lot of interest in the screen test too. After the screen test, I told him I could do better. That was in December 2002.
In January, I got a call from his office informing me that I was selected. He asked me for dates but, by then, I had committed to a couple of films. I had also met with an accident.
I was shooting for Manasellam in Ooty, just after the screen test. I was required to stand at a height of 60 feet surrounded by fire. There was a major accident and I was severely burnt.
That happened on December 21. I remember I had to collect the Best New Face Award the next day. My father collected it on my behalf. I was in the hospital for a month. I was very happy when I got a bouquet from Mani Sir wishing me a speedy recovery.
Because of the accident, I lost nearly a month of shooting. But Mani Sir was willing to wait for me. He said, 'No problem, I will work out the dates and tell you.' He then postponed the shooting by three months.
I was very tense. Other than my career, I was worried about whether I would be able to lead a normal life. Doctors advised me not to work for at least three months. But I started shooting after a month. All my producers were so understanding.
In fact, I dubbed for Manasellam in a cast.
Tell us more about Manasellam.
Manasellam is produced by the same banner which launched me in Rojakootam. It is helmed by new director Santosh. The heroine is Trisha Krishnan. It is an emotional, musical love story and the music is by Ilayaraja. I am so happy that, so early in my career, I got to work in a film that has music by such a genius! I have three songs all to myself where I get a chance to perform.
For those who are asking me when I am going to do action movies, Manasellam is the answer.
Both your earlier films were college love stories. Would you prefer to continue with such stories or do you want to grow out of it?
Of course, I want to grow out of college love stories. But the fact is that 95 per cent of the films that are successful are love stories.
In my next film Parthipan Kanavu, I play a mature marketing executive.
After Ajith and Vijay, you are considered the next hero. Does it put pressure on you?
I am very happy that people have received me so well. And yes, the pressure to live up to people's expectations a little difficult to handle. If your first movie is a hit, the second is very important. If the second is a hit, the third also has to be a hit. So the pressure continues.
But I enjoy films and acting.
You once said you meet your fans at home on Sundays. Do you still meet them?
Of course, I do, from 7 am to 4.30 pm. I ask them how they like my films, their expectations, etc.
How long do you plan to continue this?
As long as I am in films.
You are linked with all the heroines you work with.
I guess that is because I am the only young guy around, and I have been successful in love stories.
Do these stories upset you?
Initially, yes. It was quite hard to take. Now, I have learnt to close the magazine and forget it.
If I had not been an actor, they would not have written about me at all. I look at it as a professional hazard.