Tamil Interviews

‘I Am Taking It One Project At A Time’: The Atharvaa Interview

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Cop thriller 100 might be doing well in theatres now, but when director Sam Anton and actor Atharvaa Murali began work on it, they knew they were stepping into new territory. The film, which has been in production since 2017, finally released last weekend after a long delay.

“I am relieved the movie is out. Earlier, we used to be excited thinking about the response to the film, but right now it’s reached a point where every movie has to go through a phase of struggle to get screens. I’m pretty sure it will change soon and I hope it does,” begins Atharvaa.

Atharvaa says it’s every actor’s dream to play a cop, but what tempted him to sign up for the film was its strong premise. “I first heard the script when it was in the initial stages. It was about a young police officer who is excited to land the job thinking he can chase criminals and beat up the bad guys, but soon releases it’s a lot more than that. In any script, I look for the one factor that will bring in audiences and keep them entertained throughout. Sam’s film had that. It was a commercial thriller, and that is the perfect package for a cop story.”

The film is set in a police control room, and one of the calls that Atharvaa’s character Sathya answers takes the film forward. He traces the people behind the kidnapping of a girl, uncovering a series of criminal activities.

For his roles in films such as Paradesi, Irumbu Kuthirai, Eetti and Boomerang, Atharvaa prepped extensively before the shoot to look the part. 100 too required him to undergo physical training and a fitness routine, but that was just one aspect, he says. “In the film, we wanted to show how control rooms work. It’s where all the police support is first orchestrated. So, I had to learn how cops answer phones in control rooms and deal with every call, emotionally and psychologically too.”

On the set, the team would have long discussions and bring in creative improvements every day. “I was really comfortable with the team. Sam is creatively strong and knew exactly what the movie required. It was his first action film and many things were new to him as well. It was my also first time acting with Hansika Motwani, and I saw how versatile she was.”

Many recent incidents of violence against women are referenced in the film, and it also touches upon the loopholes in due process and the legal system. Yogi Babu plays a police trainee, and Radha Ravi a senior police officer. Ask Atharvaa about the presence of Radha Ravi, who was recently in the news over singer Chinmayi being banned from the Dubbing Union, of which he is head, and his misogynistic remarks against actress Nayanthara, and he admits it is a sensitive topic now, but that casting was done before the MeToo movement, and that it was the director’s call.

2018 was an important year for Atharvaa in his career. He acted in Immaika Nodigal and also ventured into production with Semma Botha Agatha. 100 is his second film for 2019 after Boomerang, and he also has Othaikku Othai and Kuruthi Attam under production. He says, “These are some really good films and I’m excited about them. I will also definitely produce films in the future, but for now I don’t want to think too far into the future. I always chase what’s right ahead. I’m taking it one project at a time.”

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