When Atharvaa Murali made his debut in the industry, it seemed like he was yet another romantic hero — a cliched chocolate boy, who made his leading ladies swoon. However, an intense role in Bala’s Paradesi, is what established him as an actor to be reckoned with. Since then, his journey with director Bala seems to be a never-ending one, as his next film Chandi Veeran is produced by Bala and directed by Sarkunam. The charming young actor talks about the effort he put in to toning his body, dealing with failures, his relationship status and more.
The posters of Chandi Veeran give us an impression that it’s a very serious film. Can you tell us a little about it?
Not at all. Since the film is set in a village backdrop, it would have looked like a serious film, but it is a commercial entertainer with Sarkunam sir’s touch. It has some aesthetically shot action sequences too. My character in the film is a fun-loving one, a guy who wanders around with no purpose. Even though this film is set in a village, it’s different from my previous rural film, Paradesi. In fact, it was Bala sir who told me about this script and asked me to play the lead role. It has many interesting elements in it.
Tell us about your experience shooting in Thanjavur and other interior locations…
More than the shoot, it was the lunch that Sarkunam sir served that I can never forget. Since we were shooting for few portions of the film in his hometown, I got to taste some delectable homemade non-vegetarian dishes which I had never tasted before. It was the best part of our shoot. Also, it was very refreshing for me to shoot in a village than in a city.
Talk about your co-star Anandhi…
One thing I must say about her is that she is someone who’s scared of everything around her. There was a scene were a person had to hold a snake in the backdrop of the scene — the way she got scared was like she was the one holding the snake in her hand. It was fun working with her though.
Rumour is that you are dating Janani Iyer…
Like you said, it’s just a rumor. I am very much single and happy. I am in no hurry to get into a relationship, as I am young now. I need to concentrate on acting and that’s my sole purpose. If there is anything to say about my personal life, I will announce it myself.
Have you ever been propositioned?
Honestly, I can’t remember. But even now, I get many letters and flower bouquets from girls, and I must admit, it feels nice. In fact, I am surprised that girls actually write letters to me in this day and age. I have a habit of collecting all the gifts and letters that I receive and keep it safe in my room. When someone takes so much pain to show their love, we must not just ignore it or throw it away.
Your previous film Irumbu Kuthirai didn’t do well. What have you learnt from it?
Even before coming to this industry, I knew that success and failures are just a part of it. We need to accept flops just like we accept hits. I did Irumbu Kuthirai as it was different from my previous films and had an interesting concept, but unfortunately it didn’t do well. I moved on to my next film without a break.
How do you choose scripts? Do you concentrate more on rural subjects?
I try and give variations to my character. Just like any other actor, I want to experiment with my acting. I am not someone who likes to run with the flow.
Do you discuss scripts with your mom?
Not much. If my dad would have been there now, he would have suggested a few things. I will always miss him, and I can never forget the love he had for us.
You sport a fab six-pack now. Tell us about how you worked on your body…
I decided to tone my body for my film, Eeti, in which I play an athlete. That was when I started to hit the gym on a regular basis. I began to build my body over a period of time. Now, it has become a habit for me and I hit the gym every morning, between four and six.
Have you ever thought of directing a film?
I have not thought of it till now. I love watching films and that makes me happy. In fact, even when I am busy, I don’t miss watching the weekend releases. Even if five films release a week, I manage to watch it despite my hectic shooting schedule.
How do you de-stress while working in three films simultaneously?
To be frank, if shooting for films would have stressed me, I wouldn’t have continued my career as an actor. I just love to shoot. My tolerance level is high. After work, almost every day, I play some football with my friends near my house in ECR. Since I live on the beachfront, I make it a point to get some fresh air after work. I am not someone who can sit idle. I try my best to be physically active all day.
We’ve heard you like to spend time with your pets…
I love pets. I can’t think of ending a day without spending time with them. We have six dogs at home, and all of them are affectionate towards my mom and me. When Appa was alive, we used to have a variety of birds, squirrels and a lot of other pets. Now, I have decided to have dogs alone.
What are your upcoming projects?
I am finishing Eeti, which has Sri Divya playing the female lead. I am also waiting for the release of Chandi Veeran opposite Anandhi and Kanithan, which will see me playing the role of a journalist. Catherine Tresa plays the female lead in this one. Director Seenu Ramasamy sir recently narrated a script, however, things are yet to shape up.