'Being the first doctor in the family comes with a lot of expectations.'
'I guess I have been a constant source of disappointment.'
The Family Man 2 has showcased so many talents.
Among them is Ravindra Vijay, who played the Chennai-based intelligence officer Muthu Pandian.
Interestingly, Vijay, who grew up in Bengaluru, trained to be a doctor.
After practicing medicine briefly, he quit the profession to take up acting in 2011.
Vijay tells Rediff.com Senior Contributor Rajul Hegde , "The world sees it as 'Oh, he left a lucrative career in medicine for acting', but for me, it seemed like an obvious step."
There are a lot of memes on the characters of The Family Man 2. Do you think memes are the yardstick to gauge the impact of the film/series and its characters?
I guess, in today's world, memes are definitely a huge impact indicator.
It easily translates a few hour long series to a concise frame.
It takes a great amount of creativity to do that and right now, Chellam sir is a rage. There are quite a few of them doing rounds on us too.
Did you expect this kind of attention?
One always hopes to get noticed, no matter what work one does. And with a series of this scale, definitely yes.
But it has been beyond our expectation for the series and for the individual characters as well.
While I was performing, I did not realise this role would have this much significance.
The phone hasn't stopped ringing.
Compliments have been flowing from all over the country. Especially in south India, this character seems to have a lot of resonance.
How did you come on board for The Family Man 2?
I heard about the show through my friend Suman Kumar, who is the writer of The Family Man.
I auditioned for the show.
When season 2 casting began, season 1 hadn't released yet, so we didn't know how big it was going to be.
Midway through the shoot of season 2, season 1 released.
That's when we realised how big it turned out to be.
How tough was it to look seamless while switching languages from Tamil to English and then Hindi? How comfortable are you in Hindi?
I am from Bangalore and all these languages, including Kannada and Telugu, come easily to me.
For this character, I had to make it seem like I was not a natural Hindi-speaking guy.
My Hindi is way better than Muthu's.
My character knows functional Hindi so I had to unlearn some of my Hindi for the role.
You have worked with a seasoned actor like Manoj Bajpayee.
Working with Manoj was a learning experience; he makes it seem effortless.
We would rehearse every scene before the take.
He creates a kind of space where everyone can contribute.
And big thanks to (Creators and Directors) Raj and DK for creating that kind of environment.
You are a doctor. How did you become an actor?
The world sees it as 'Oh, he left a lucrative career in medicine for acting', but for me, it seemed like an obvious step.
What started as a hobby in medical college became a passion.
After college, I practiced (medicine) for some time.
Later, I started working for a theatre group called Rafiki in Bangalore for a few years.
I moved to Chennai and continued doing theatre.
Then a Tamil movie, Anbirkiniyal, happened.
A couple of years later, I did the Telugu movie Uma Maheshwara Ugra Roopasya, which gave me a big break.
I played the antagonist in that. Even though it was a non-speaking part, it grabbed a lot of attention because it was a powerful role.
Then The Family Man happened.
I will continue working in Tamil and Telugu films. I hope to get work in Hindi too.
How did your parents react to your shift in profession?
I think they are still reacting (laughs).
Being the first doctor in the family comes with a lot of expectations.
I guess I have been a constant source of disappointment.
But slowly, they have come around and accepted that medicine is not an option anymore.
It's been 10 years now.
Any possibility of returning to medicine in the future?
I volunteered to help during the pandemic.
I spoke to a few of my friends during the peak of COVID-19, but they suggested that I keep away for now.
As medicine is an evolving field, you need to be regularly in touch with treatments.
Are you happy with the kind of roles you are getting?
I mostly get baddie roles.
I don't want to get typecast.
Since I have played a positive character in The Family Man 2, I hope people offer me diverse roles.
I want to do comedy too.
The OTT space has a diverse set of stories.
The scope is bigger.
I'm looking forward to interesting work; the language doesn't matter.