“I am directors’ actor”, says Udhayanidhi Stalin

“I learnt a lot working with a perfectionist like Mysskin. For Psycho, he adviced me not to act before camera and just be the character that I am performing”, says actor-producer Udhayanidhi Stalin.

Psycho starring Udhayanidhi, Aditi Rao Hydari, Nithya Menen, Ram and Shaji Chen is hitting the screens 24 January. Directed by Mysskin, it has cinematography by P C Sreeram and music by Ilayaraja.

Excerpts from Udhayanidhi’s interview:

Q: Why a long gap after Kanne Kalaimanae?
A: It wouldn’t call it a huge gap. When we began shooting for Psycho, the elections happened and I even campaigned in the day and shot for the movie in nights. I am thankful to Mysskin for that. There was some issues involving Ilayaraja and Prasad Studios and hence we could not proceed with work for over a month. Actually, we completed the movie in 70 days.

Q: How was it to work with Mysskin?
A: He is a taskmaster and a perfectionist. The first advice that he gave me was not to act before camera. He wanted me to be natural. He teaches everything before we go for shoot. As an actor, I am ready to do as many retakes a director wants until he is satisfied. I was initially tensed on the sets of Mysskin, but both PC Sreeram and Mysskin were very spoortive and made me feel at ease.

Q: Tell us about your role in Psycho?

A: I play a visually-challenged music conductor Gautham in the movie. Mysskin sent me his friend, who was visually-challenged, to my place. I spent two days with him and observed him very closely. I learnt how they react to every situation, their daily routine and body language. We had a music conductor helping me on the sets to get the act right.

Q: What are your forthcoming films?

A: Kannai Nambathae with director Mu Maran has come good. We have just 20 days of shooting left to complete the project. My movie with director Magizh Thirumeni was supposed to begin in January but got delayed. We will start shoot in February.

Q: How do you balance cinema and politics?

A: Politics is a huge responsibility even greater that that of an actor. I have a team that assists me in carrying out my work as DMK Youth Wing secretary. To manage my Red Giant production house, I have an army of men. They co-ordinate with me well. I should give importance to politics. Hence I am selective about scripts that I choose.

Q: How do you take criticisms?

A: I know I have done few average films. But I always strive to correct myself. I want to be a directors’ actor and keep sharpening my skills on screen.

Q: Will you contest Assembly elections in 2021?

A: Too early to say. We have a year to go. I have a lots to do as youth wing secretary. I should work hard to disprove my critics. If my party high command asks me to contest, I have to abide by it.

Q: You recent tweets sparked a row in social media. How do you see it?

A: When I feel that I should react to something, I should do it. Maintaining silence at certain places is not right.

M BHARAT KUMAR