In this weekly series, we take a trip down memory lane with some of the biggest stars of the 80s and 90s, who continue to charm us even now. Veteran actor Karthik Muthuraman, in a freewheeling chat with us, shares memorable moments from his successful journey that made him reach stardom. He also reveals to us about his upcoming filmy ventures.
Veteran actor Karthik Muthuraman, in a freewheeling chat with us, shares memorable moments from his successful journey that made him reach stardom. He also reveals to us about his upcoming filmy ventures.
The clean shaved adolescent in the 1981 blockbuster Alaigal Oivadhillai went on to become the heartthrob of Tamil girls. Girls went gaga everytime when Karthik’s new film was announced, back in the 80s. In the early 90s, he shed his chocolate boy image with some solid performances in films like Amaran, Ponnumani and Nadodi Paatukaaran. Even after 22 years of Mouna Ragam, the charm that he carries doesn’t seem to fade.
We tell him how his dialogues in Mani Ratnam’s Mouna Raagam are tailor made for him. He instantly smiles and says, "Yes. I still remember the dialogue, which I tell Revathy in the flashback sequences. Unakku enna paatha bayam. En style, en grace, en charm, idhellam paathu ena love panniduva nu bayam (You are scared that you will fall for my style, grace and charm)."
Birth of 'Mouna Raagam'
Karthik says that his dear friend and ace director Mani Ratnam visited his house after a game of Tennis and that’s how it all happened. "He came to my home after playing a game at the Mylapore Tennis Club, and asked, ‘Murali (Karthik’s off-stage name), I have a story and we have almost completed the filming. There is a small portion that is left to be shot and would you like to be a part of it?’. I couldn’t say ‘no’ to my bestie and in the next couple of days, we started shooting for the film. We completed it within 14 days. Then, Agni Natchathiram, happened with Mani again."
Rise to stardom
Karthik delivered back-to-back blockbusters for almost a decade. He also explored various genres and characters ranging from a goldsmith in Naadodi Paatukaaran to a petty thief in the award-winning Unnidhathil Ennai Koduthen.
"90s will always be close to my heart. The quality of writers in the industry was excellent. Be it Naadodi Paatukaaran or Ullathai Allithaa, the narrative was brilliant and I owe all the success to my directors. And with Kizhakku Vaasal, I moved away from my comfort zone. However, it was Gokulathil Seethai, that created a huge impact in me. It hit me hard. It is not easy for any writer or a director to recreate the magic that Gokulathil Seethai did. I started searching for scripts similar to it, but I hardly came across one after that. And then, Pistha happened. Mouli and I used to go on and on and KS Ravikumar would wonder when the camera should stop rolling." Says Karthik.
Being a star kid
Karthik’s family is the first in cinema to witness three generations of stardom. Starting from his father, the legendary Muthuraman to Karthik himself, the baton has now been passed on to Gautham Karthik. "As a star kid, I had the pressure. My dad had already set the standards high. But I was constantly reminded to stay humble and calm. In my house, whenever a director comes to narrate a story, the entire family sits down to listen to the narration. Now, I’m happy that Gautham has evolved as an actor, and proud to see him grow from close quarters." Says Karthik with a huge smile.
Later, the actor decided to take it slow before signing Maanja Velu and Raavanan in 2010. "I started questioning myself about a lot of things. I went through a phase of self-realisation. However, there wasn’t a moment that I kept myself away from cinema. I started working on things that I require to make a comeback. Then came Anegan, Thaana Serndha Kootam and now Mr Chandramouli," he adds.
"I am getting back in shape as far as acting is concerned. I have also written three scripts, and will be directing them soon," he concludes.