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Meet Nanban's Chatur

Last updated on: January 11, 2012 12:03 IST

Meet Nanban's Chatur

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Shobha Warrier in Chennai

One thing all those who have seen 3 Idiots were curious to know was who would play Chatur's role in the Tamil remake, Nanban. More than the three heroes, it was Omi Vaidya, who played Chatur, who walked away with all the applause in the Hindi film.

It is the little known comedian, Sathyan, who has hitherto worked only as a side-kick to well-known comedians, who plays Chatur (Srivatsan in Tamil) in Nanban.

In a rare interview, Sathyan talks to Shobha Warrier about how he landed the role and how it has changed things for him.

How did this role come to you?

I had heard that Shankar Sir was remaking 3 Idiots in Tamil but never imagined that I would be in the film. I got a call from Shankar Sir's office to come for an audition. I asked for which role and I was told it was the role of Chatur, who made that famous speech at the college function.

I couldn't believe my ears. Chatur has as much importance as the hero!

Had you seen 3 Idiots?

Yes, I had seen the film after many people said it was a good entertainer. I enjoyed it though I don't understand a single word of Hindi.


Image: A scene from Nanban


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'Chatur has as much importance as the hero!'

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So, you might not have understood the speech Chatur made in the college...

I didn't understand what he was saying but the whole theatre was laughing loudly. So, I also laughed. It was contagious. Though I didn't understand what chamatkar was, I understood balatkar. It is same in Tamil also (laughs) .

What did you do for the audition?

I did two scenes -- one was the speech and the other, an emotional scene. They asked me whether I wanted to prepare for it but I said I preferred doing it spontaneously.

When did you come to know that you were selected?

They told me that Shankar Sir had gone abroad and that it would take three days for me to know the results. I was like a student waiting for the exam result. Those three days were the most tense days of my life.

Then, I got a call from his office. The result was that I had passed the exam. I can't say how excited I was!


Image: A scene from Nanban

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'I was very confident playing the character'

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What was the first scene you shot?

It was the last scene of the film and it was shot in Ooty. I had to remove my pants and talk. After the shot was over, I heard someone laughing loudly and to my surprise, I found that it was Shankar Sir who was laughing!

When I saw him laughing, I was relieved. I knew I did the shot well. It was such a big compliment for me, like winning an award!

What instructions did Shankar give you?

As you know, he is a great actor. He would first tell you the scene and then enact it for you. You have to only follow what he says.

I feel if he had done the role of Chatur, it would have been even better.

My name is Srivatsan in the film and everyone calls me Silencer! But the name 'Chatur' is so famous that everybody used to say Chatur on the sets!

How confident were you doing the role which was made so famous by Omi Vaidya?

I was quite confident. Most people in Tamil Nadu have not seen the Hindi original. So, they will see my performance as a fresh one.


Image: A scene from Nanban


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'I never imagined to be a part of the film'

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Do you have the American accent in Nanban also?

Yes, I am shown as a guy born in Coimbatore who went to California to study. I got the American accent very well though I am not that good in English!

Can you tell us about the famous speech at the college function?

It has come out really well. I shouldn't be appreciating my own performance but when I saw it on screen while dubbing, I myself laughed aloud.

While doing the scene, I was the only one who was serious while the others were roaring with laughter. On seeing Sathyaraj Sir rolling with laughter, I had a tough time controlling my own laughter and doing the scene with a straight face!

Which was the other scene that you enjoyed doing?

The climax scene, where I challenge and humiliate Vijay Sir, is also one of my favourites.


Image: A scene from Nanban


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'I am really looking forward to the release of the film'

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Do you feel Nanban will be a very important film in your career?

Like you say 'Before Christ' and 'After Christ', in my career, it will be 'Before Nanban' and 'After Nanban' (laughs)

How much has this film changed your career?

With the news that I was signed by Shankar Sir, many directors started coming with interesting scripts. I am doing a film with none other than A R Murugadoss now and with Vijay Sir as the hero.

I have a parallel role in the film and I am there from beginning to end. The assistant and associate directors of Nanban recommended my name to Murugadoss. Vijay Sir also told him that I did very well in Nanban.

How much are you looking forward to the release of Nanban?

I think more than Shankar Sir and Vijay Sir, I am the one who is looking forward to the film's release.


Image: Movie poster of Nanban


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