Sunday, December 16, 2012

Vikram Prabhu overcomes his fears

Kumki marks the debut of Sivaji Ganesan’s grandson, playing an elephant trainer If Vikram Prabhu was nervous, he didn’t show it. The debutant actor seemed at ease with himself, especially for one who was carrying the mantle of responsibility; that of being legendary actor, Sivaji Ganesan’s grandson. His calm demeanour stood out as he patiently spoke to journalists during a promotional meet of his film, ‘Kumki,’ in Chennai. Tamil film ‘Kumki,’ has been in the news for several reasons. First, it is a Prabhu Solomon film, the director of the much- acclaimed Tamil film, ‘Myna,’ that catapulted Amala Paul to stardom. Secondly it is the launch pad for Vikram Prabhu, son of actor Prabhu and grandson of thespian Sivaji Ganesan. Fuelling interest further is the story revolves around an elephant. An MBA graduate with a degree in Theatre Arts from San Diego University, Prabhu always yearned to join the industry, he says. As well as working as production manager of his family business, Sivaji Productions, he assisted director Vishnu Vardhan for a while. In ‘Kumki,’ he plays a mahout (elephant trainer) and is paired opposite another newcomer, Lakshmi Menon. For this role, he underwent training in Kerala in an elephant camp in the company of mahouts. “The first time I met the elephant it was 100 feet away [30 metres] and looked intimidating. I wondered was it possible for me to work with the animal?” he recalled. Overcoming his initial fears, Prabhu prepared himself mentally and walked up to the elephant. “I touched it and told myself that I was going to do it.” One of the posters of the film has Prabhu standing on the elephant’s trunk and planting a kiss on its forehead. Ask him about it and he smiles: “This was the director’s idea and I tried it out. Initially the elephant did not understand what I was trying to do. I had to balance my body on its trunk which is slippery and then hold its tusks. It was not easy. Gradually the animal got used and started enjoying the affection. Now the mahout is doing the same.” While bathing and feeding the elephant, he managed to forge a bond with Manikam, the pachyderm. “I had to get a pulse of its behaviour and understand its moods. I had to know the signals to watch out for. As I got accustomed to it, the animal got comfortable with my voice and smell. When the mahout entrusted the animal in my care it bolstered my confidence.” Talking about the director, he said: “He is a wonderful director who goes to lengths to explain a scene to his actor. That helped us understand our characters.” Praising his co-actor, Lakshmi Menon, a trained dancer, he said: “For one so young, she was amazing and professional.” At this juncture of his life, Prabhu misses his grandfather. “He would have been proud,” said Vikram who counts Ganesan’s period films among his favourite. “I would like to work on a historical film sometime.” What about the responsibility that lay on his young shoulders? “Yes, it is a big responsibility. The film has garnered expectations beyond my anticipation,” said Prabhu. “I am nervous and it is fun. I am grateful for being born in this family.” Produced by N.Lingusamy’s Thirupathi Brothers with music scored by D. Imman and cinematography by Sukumar, ‘Kumki,’ also stars Thambi Ramiah, in a serious role. Taking its cue from Solomon’s ‘Myna,’ viewers can look forward to a love story told realistically and complemented with breathtaking visuals. BOX: Director Prabhu Solomon speaks: This story written by Solomon revolves around a trained elephant that is used to herd back elephants which have strayed out of jungles. “The spark of the idea came from reports in dailies of elephants straying out of their herds and entering villages. Sets were created in Theni including planting paddy fields for the shooting. Manikam the pachyderm was brought from Kerala. With a vet to attend to the animal, the scenes involving the tusker were shot over four days.”

1 comment:

Mahendran jaganathan said...

Vikram Prabhu upcomng movies are உஸ்தாத் ஹோட்டல், Arima Nambi, Sigaram Thodu, Ivan Veramathiri.