Mumbai | To essay the role of the great king Rajaraja Chola I in Mani Ratnam's two-part magnum opus "Ponniyin Selvan", actor Jayam Ravi says it was important for him to develop Zen-like concentration.
It was his frequent co-star, late Tamil actor Vivek who introduced Ravi to the Buddhist school of thought, he recalled. The actor duo had worked in films such as "M. Kumaran Son of Mahalakshmi”, “Ninaithathu Yaaro”, and "Sakalakala Vallavan”.
Vivek's tip came in handy after Ravi started prepping to play the role of Arulmozhi Varman, popularly known as Rajaraja Chola I, in the “Ponniyin Selvan” films. The second part of the period action epic hit theatres worldwide last Friday.
“There was this great actor named Vivek, he was a comedian, a character actor. He passed away at a very young age.
“I had the chance to work with such a great legend. He had told me, ‘To do one shot, you need to have Zen concentration'. If I am living in that moment for that character, that is more than enough. The Zen concentration stuck to me. It is something like Buddha's realisation,” Ravi, 42, told PTI.
Set in the 10th century, “Ponniyin Selvan” narrates the story of one of the most powerful dynasties in the south - the Cholas.
The film series draws its title from Arulmozhi Varman's alternate name: Ponniyin Selvan meaning 'Son of Cauvery', an epithet he received in childhood after he was said to be saved by the mighty river Cauvery from drowning.
“Ponniyin Selvan” also stars the likes of Vikram, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Trisha Krishnan, Karthi, Sobhita Dhulipala, Aishwarya Lekshmi and Prakash Raj, among others.
Ravi, known for movies such as "Jayam", "Unakkum Enakkum", "Santhosh Subramaniam" and "Thillalangadi", compared his friendship with the cast to that of a group of college friends.
“You never talk to your college friends every day. This relationship is going to be like that, we are going to remain the same. Maybe we are not in touch often but whatever we have shared during the shoot and promotions, that is going to stay forever that is what I promise,” he said.
“Karthi and I were talking about a new strategy and he said, ‘You go and promote my film, and I will promote yours',” he added.
Jointly produced by Ratnam's Madras Talkies and A Subaskaran's Lyca Productions, “Ponniyin Selvan II” released in Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam.