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Check out this Tamil cowboy!

Last updated on: May 6, 2010 14:09 IST

'I was excited to play a cowboy'

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Shobha Warrier in Chennai

Chimbudevan's Irumbukottai Murattu Singam is one film that has created a lot of curiosity this summer as it was after many decades that a cowboy film is releasing in Tamil.

But what surprised many was his choice of the hero -- Lawrence, the choreographer turned director-actor. The director says he chose Lawrence for his dance moves and style.

In this exclusive interview, Lawrence talks about the film and also about the orphanage he runs. Excerpts:

What was your reaction when you were first offered the role of a cowboy in Irumbukottai Murattu Singam?

I was fascinated by the image drawn by Chimbudevan. The cowboy had a hat and outfit that no actor wears these days. I found it very interesting. When he narrated the story, I got even more excited.

Generally I don't get excited about anything but the idea of portraying a cowboy excited me. It was after more than three decades that a cowboy film was being made in Tamil and me being a part of it was exciting.

You get to do the usual films all the time but you don't get films like this everyday. I was very happy to do the film.


Image: A scene from Irumbukottai Murattu Singam

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'Other than practise horse riding, I didn't do any preparation for the role'

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Last cowboy film was made with Jayashankar in the lead several years ago. Now, you are going to do a similar role. What kind of preparation did you do to present the character in a new light?

To tell you the truth, all the preparations were done by Chimbudevan. I just followed what he told me. The only thing I did was practice horse riding!

As I was very thin, the director wanted me to put on some weight. Other than that, I didn't do any preparation.

I would say none of us actors toiled hard; the only person who carried the burden on his shoulders was Chimbudevan. All of us had to only do what he said, enjoy the horse ride and new get ups.


Image: A scene from Irumbukottai Murattu Singam

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'I hope I've added certain grace to the character'

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Chimbudevan spoke of the way you tossed the gun. Can you tell us how you came up with the idea?

Again, the idea was his and I only executed it. The only thing I had to suffer was the gun falling on my head several times. Yes, it hurt! Otherwise, it was fun!

You are a choreographer. What was your contribution as a choreographer to the character?

I hope I have added certain grace to the character. At the same time, the cowboy had to be strong too. I choreographed two songs of mine and in one, Chimbudevan said I need not dance at all. It was nice to just walk and move around while the others danced. I felt very good doing that!


Image: A scene from Irumbukottai Murattu Singam

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'Acting in the movie was a novel experience for me'

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Is this role different from what you have done so far?

Definitely. I have not done such a role as an actor or choreographer before. It was a novel experience for me. I hope the audience will feel the same.

Was acting in the film tough for you?

No. The only person who carried all the troubles was the director. He walked down the hills for six to seven hours to find locations for shooting, but we were taken in a boat to the same place later.

You run an orphanage (Lawrence Charitable Trust) for children. What you started in a small away has 100 children now. Recently, M Karunanidhi (DMK chief) complimented you on your efforts. How did it all begin?

As a child, I suffered. So, I feel other children should not suffer. I started this long ago but people came to know of this only recently. There are 100 children in the home now. It all started with me noticing one orphan here. I decided to bring him up and now there are 100 such children in my home. I educate them and bring them up.


Image: A scene from Irumbukottai Murattu Singam

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'I am sure people will love this film'

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What do they call you?

Some call me Appa (father), some call me uncle. They are in the age group of 10-12. I want to educate them at least up to the tenth standard. If any of them are willing to study more, I will educate them further too.

First, nobody knew about what I was doing. After the news appeared in the papers and on TV, many have come forward to help them, feed them and sponsor them.

Do you show your films to them?

Of course. They laugh when there is comedy and if someone beats me up, they cry! After all, they are children and know only how to love those who love them! But I am sure they will love this film as Chimbudevan has made it with children and the family audience in mind!


Image: A scene from Irumbukottai Murattu Singam

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