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. Vineeth arrived in K’wood with the movie, 'Aavarampoo', and won the hearts of the audience as a timid ‘Sakkarai’.
Vineeth arrived in K’wood with the movie, Aavarampoo, and won the hearts of the audience as a timid ‘Sakkarai’. He went on to become a heart-throb in south industry with films like May Madham and Kaadhal Desam and is still remembered for his ability to leave an impact despite the length of his roles. In this candid chat with us, the actor looks back at his four-decade-long career, best fan moments and more.
Ticket to silverscreen
I started learning classical dance from legendary writer MT Vasudevan Nair’s wife Kalamandalam Saraswathi at the age of 5. But my fascination towards cinema began from the day I started taking up my dance classes seriously. I understood what art is. I made my debut in Malayalam industry when I was in class 10.
In fact, I shot for films only during the holidays, as I wanted to give importance to my eduction as well. Though I was a trained dancer, acting wasn’t easy. Malayalam filmmakers like Hariharan, Bharathan, and IV Sasi, shaped me as an actor, and laid that foundation for my stint in Kollywood.
After class 12, I came all the way to Chennai to pursue a degree in New College. Those were times when I took break from films, and decided to concentrate on studies as I had plans to do CA. One day, I got a call from director Bharathan saying that he was doing his first Tamil film and would like to cast me as hero’s friend.
I agreed, and went for the audition. But to my surprise, the team decided to cast me as the lead. That’s how I got an opportunity in Tamil cinema. Aavarampoo (1992) is one of the best film’s I have ever been a part of. Due to some unknown reasons the film wasn’t marketed well, and ended up with mixed reviews.
Later, I got a call from legendary director Balachander saying he wanted to cast me in his film, Jaathi Malli. Initially, I thought it was a prank call. But when I realised that I was going to act under his direction, I was really excited. With films like Shankar’s Gentleman, Puthiya Mugam, and May Madham releasing in a row, it was yet another successful year. I was working on Malayalam films as well, and life became busy.
That’s when I understood that I am here to stay. In fact, my priorities had always been choosing good character roles, despite the length of it. I didn’t even have any manager or assistant for promoting or marketing myself as an actor.
The Mustafa days
I have a lot of memories associated with Kadhal Desam, and it’s one of the best things that happened in my life. I started getting a lot of offers from Tollywood as well post the film’s release, and I had no time for signing Malayalam films. I did almost 18 Telugu films, of which most of them became a hit. The best part is, Mustafa song from Kadhal Desam became a rage, and it gave me a lot of love from people around the world, especially kutties. There were instances when kids, who spotted me at airport, ran towards me, shouting Mustafa uncle.
I also know a Japanese girl who became my die-hard fan after watching Kadhal Desam. In fact, she became my best friend, and I am still in touch with her. We used to exchange a lot of gifts during birthdays or special occasion.
Later, as years passed by, I wasn’t getting interesting roles in Tamil. To survive as an actor, we must keep ourselves in the limelight and promote big time. I became busy with my dance shows abroad, and in 2005 I made a comeback with Chandramukhi.
Thankfully, I have a lot of good memories in cinema than bad ones. But sometimes I get really upset during the last day of shoots. I get attached to my co-stars, sets and technicians very easily and it takes some time for me move to the next project. Also, I had privilege to watch Ilaiyarajaa composing the background score for Aavarampoo. It was a magical moment, and I can never forget it.
I am happy to make a comeback in Tamil film with Rajiv Menon’s Sarvam Thaala Mayam. GV is a talented guy and fun to work with. I have a special bonding with him, as he is the one who sang Palakkattu Machanukku for my film, May Madham in 1994.