Mysskin treats his actors like a baby: Udhayanidhi Stalin

S Subhakeerthana
Udhayanidhi Stalin

Udhayanidhi Stalin played the protagonist in Mysskin's Psycho.

2020 has begun on a great note for Udhayanidhi Stalin, who played the protagonist in Mysskin's Psycho that hit screens last Friday. "I thank Mysskin sir for keeping his faith in me. Actually, sir and I were to collaborate on Yuddham Sei, but it didn't happen," says Udhayanidhi, adding, the director offered him a role, unlike anything he has done before. "Though we discussed ideas, things never fell in place. Once, he told me a script, based on aliens. I had to say 'no' because it was beyond my intelligence," laughs Udhayanidhi. After a pause, the actor says he listened to the one-liner of Psycho in a car. "I quite liked it. I didn't want to miss the opportunity of working with PC Sreeram sir and Ilaiyaraaja sir," he admits.

But Psycho isn't the kind of film that Udhayanidhi usually does. He says, "I know what you are trying to say. But I was aware of the potential that the character (Gautham) had. When I saw the film, it was a pleasant surprise for me. The credit goes only to Mysskin sir," he tells us.

As a filmmaker, Mysskin is very different, observes Udhayanidhi Stalin. "Mysskin sir is extremely passionate about what he does and treats his actors like a baby. Right from my hair-do to the glasses I was wearing, everything was his choice. All I did was to listen to him and react to situations given to me. In fact, he didn't want me to act at all." He cites an example. "Mysskin has a unique way of storytelling and works a lot on 'silences'. To bring meaning to those silences, an actor should understand his director. Once that connection is established, everything becomes easy," he says.

Udhayanidhi reveals the most exciting thing about playing Gautham was that it breaks the quintessential mould of a hero. "Gautham is visually-impaired. Though he has a tender heart, he strongly believes in love. Bringing this blend alive was challenging," he says.

Udhayanidhi Stalin reads a story like an audience first, and if it stays with him, he decides to be a part of the director's vision. "In Psycho, both Aditi Rao Hydari and Nithya Menen had equal screen space. The length of the role doesn't matter to me. What's more important are the moments that I have in the film, which will take the story forward," he notes.

According to him, films which are relatable, close to the masses, and more real tend to resonate with the audience. However, the actor's only aim, of late, is to explore different genres and territories. "I was a reluctant actor, and it all started in Aadhavan with a cameo. In the beginning, I was not confident about my acting abilities. Eventually, the validation and reassurances came from people, whenever I visit their villages and towns for political campaigns. My quest isn't to repeat myself. The fear is always there because the industry tends to typecast when it comes to casting. But I want to explore roles that demand honesty and earnestness as Psycho did," he elaborates.

Udhayanidhi Stalin understands he's not perceived as an intense actor. "With Manithan, everything changed. Until then, I was content doing films like OKOK. Truth be told, I got bored doing similar stuff. Slowly, I paid more attention to pick quality scripts. I realised that content is king. Then, Nimir happened with Priyadarshan sir and Kanne Kalaimaane with Seenu Ramasamy sir. What's hilarious is both Priyadarshan sir and Mysskin sir hadn't seen my films and decided to cast me in their films!"

Up next, Udhayanidhi has Kannai Nambadhe, directed by Mu Maran of Iravukku Aayiram Kangal fame. "Sixty per cent of the shoot is complete. Besides, I am teaming up with Magizh Thirumeni for another film, which I am producing, too," he says.

Reacting to reports that he was approached to play his grandfather (Kalaignar Karunanidhi) in a biopic, Udhayanidhi Stalin says, "Adhellam saadhiyame illa. Though there had been offers and suggestions, I strongly believe no biopic could do justice to what thaathaa had achieved."