A superstar in the South, Dhanush has also left his mark on the Hindi film industry with movies like Raanjhanaa and Shamitabh. The actor and filmmaker is currently promoting his next, VIP 2, with Kajol, the idea for which, he says, came to him a few years ago. In a candid chat, Dhanush talks about the importance of his wife Aishwarya’s feedback in his career, longing for his children in the midst of whirlwind promotions, his superstar father-in-law Rajinikanth, and a lot more. Excerpts from an interview:
Q When did the idea of making a sequel to VIP pop up?
The day I finished VIP, I wanted to do a sequel because that character is very close to my heart. The film ends in a way that it becomes difficult to write a sequel. It took me a while to crack a line for a sequel. And about two years ago, I got it, and I developed it.
Q Was Kajol always the first choice for this film?
When I finished writing it, I thought of somebody like Kajol ma’am. And then we thought, why not her itself? When we approached her, she really liked the script. Purely on the merit of the script, she agreed to do it, and that gave us a lot of confidence. She carried it so well.
Q You’re also a director yourself. So while working as an actor, does the director in you act up?
I keep that at home and go to the sets when I’m an actor. I just do my job and come back. Whatever I have, I keep it to myself. The director is the captain, and I don’t think anybody should instruct the director. As an actor, I should just go do my job and come. That’s how I choose to act.
Q Who is your biggest critic?
My wife is my biggest critic. It’s very difficult to make her happy or impress her. She’s very critical even if the whole world is saying my work is fantastic. The most you will get from her is ‘Haan, it was nice’ and that’s all. Even if I’m hard on myself, it only helps me improve. She’s seen so much; her father is a superstar. So I think it’s a very difficult task to impress her.
Q Being a superstar, you’ve has such a busy schedule. Do you miss spending time with your kids?
I miss spending time with my kids. It’s really tough. In the last two and a half months, I’ve seen them thrice, so it’s really tough and it’s hurting to see them for such little time. This is the age to run and work around. And it’s not like I’m doing a job where I’m not happy. I’m happy doing this. They also understand that right from the day they were born I’ve been running around, so they’re used to it. They know they will get little of their father, but they will make the most of it when I’m there.
Q Do your kids watch all your films?
Movies that have a sad ending where I’m maybe dying or something, we don’t let them watch, because it really affects them. For one week they will be upset and they will come and check on me quite often if I’m okay, and things like that. I don’t want them to go through all that. Otherwise they’re free to watch all the films.
Q Do your kids like you more as an actor or Rajinikanth?
I think they’re bigger fans of Rajini sir. When I ask them, they very politely say ‘No, we like you more,’ but I’m very sure they say the same thing when he asks! I know for a fact that nobody can reach the kids the way Rajini sir does. Nobody can do that.
Q How do you look at the constant competition between all the actors?
I don’t think it’s a field where competition is necessary. You’re making a product for people to come into theatres to watch it, enjoy it, and get entertained. Why competition comes here is something I’m trying to crack myself. There’s no need for it. If my film collects more, it’s not like your film is going to fail. In sports, I understand the need for competition. In cinema, I don’t understand the need for it. If you invest `20, and you get `30, you’re safe.
Q When do we see you doing a Hindi film again?
I’m doing a film with Aanand L. Rai sir once he’s done with the film in hand. I will start working with him. It’s not about making it big in Hindi or Tamil. I just want more audience to see my film, and I just want to do meaningful cinema. I’m just trying to spread my work to a wider audience.
Q During a recent interview, you walked out in the middle of it, when asked about your personal life. We have never seen you react like this before…
Yes, I don’t react like that. I think, it’s silly that I reacted the way I did. I should’ve just asked them to go to the next question. I should not have done that. I’m a very calm person and this was the first time I ever reacted that way. I had not slept properly for 15 days prior to that interview, and it was very silly of me. It was very unlike me, and I was myself surprised and asked myself ‘Oh, did I do that?’.