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Vijay Antony Interview – Love Guru

Love Guru emphasises the power of giving love, Vijay Antony tells Srivathsan Nadadhur over a chat

After a series of drama-heavy, intense outings – Kaali, Kolai, Kolaikaaran, Bichagadu 2 – Vijay Antony is changing gears with Love Guru, where he’s cast as a simple, relatable husband who uses every trick in the book to please his wife. Helmed by debutant Vinayak Vaithianathan, it is tailored for family audiences, promising an entertaining cocktail of humour, emotions and catchy music.

“The film necessitates the significance of giving (more in terms of love). When you love someone, it fills you with optimism and gives you a renewed purpose in life. As you shower someone with a lot of love and affection but the other person doesn’t reciprocate, you still have nothing to lose,” Vijay Antony talks of playing a selfless husband who’s not loved back by his partner.

Love Guru, the Telugu title, is not a reference to any particular character in the film, the actor-editor-producer says it summarises the essence of the story (on how one deals with love after marriage) Interestingly, the director Vinayak is a 25-year-old who isn’t married yet. So, how did he go about portraying marital life on screen?

“None can ever claim that they’ve understood the gist of life fully. Have we witnessed God yet? We’re all surrounded by stories everywhere, trying our best to grasp life from whatever we’ve seen, experienced or heard. While Vinayak isn’t married yet, he came up with a perspective on marriage that I resonated with. Even before we made it, I’d told him that we had a blockbuster on hand.”

“I won’t use pompous sentences like ‘I had the confidence in Vinayak’ to direct it. All said and done, it is his first baby and I knew he would do everything in his capacity to shape it up well.” Vinayak isn’t only fulfilling his directorial dream but also his father’s (who’d unsuccessfully waited for a direction opportunity for three decades). “I wanted Love Guru to be like Vinayak’s own production.”

Though the inspiration from Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi is quite evident in the premise, the actor insists that it has a fresh story to tell. “Ultimately, every love story has a boy-meets-girl scenario and deals with how they get together. This is an account of a married man working hard to salvage his relationship. The thematic similarity ends there.”

Was it difficult to get comedy right? “I keep hearing from people that comedy is challenging to pull off, I disagree with the statement. Acting is one of the most leisurely professions. A theatre play is more challenging, you need to respond instinctively and have stage presence to make an impression. In films, you take so many pauses/shoot gaps between dialogues that it’s not exhausting at all.”

On that note, he feels the idea of ‘dialogues’ is overrated in cinema. “Dialogues are just a medium to communicate your thoughts, what’s more important is the idea behind it and how you convey it. Several blockbusters too get away with poor dialogues, they remain unnoticed because audiences like the larger idea of the film. The key to a good film is always the script.”

He surprises you when he calls himself a bad student of cinema. “Right from my childhood, memory retention hasn’t been my strength. I tend to forget lines during my long monologues and I get someone to prompt dialogues on set. Hence, I try to learn from every person and experience at every given opportunity, I love the exchange of energy.”

As an actor, Vijay Antony isn’t conscious of picking any particular genre/subject. “When I’m chasing X, there’s a chance that I may lose Y. I choose the best among what’s offered to me and go ahead. However, a certain section of audiences believe I only pick thrillers/serious stories. I would like to set the record straight with Love Guru and loosen up henceforth.”

Being an editor, actor and producer, isn’t there a danger of him losing objectivity during the filmmaking process? “When I am on the editing table, I detach myself from other roles and view the film as a separate entity. I don’t judge a scene differently just because I am in it and try to understand what works best for the story.”

Vijay Antony isn’t particularly upset that he’s still addressed as the Bichagadu star. “I think mother sentiment is such a strong emotion that it’s hard to surpass it. We can’t see God, hence he created a mother. At that point, no one was ready to take up the role and I’m blessed it came my way.” Following the success of Bichagadu 2 last year, he’s set to direct the film’s third instalment in 2025.

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