‘For me, films are all about the theatrical experience’

My first memorable experience of watching a film in the theatre is Rajini sir’s Baashaa in Kanchipuram as a boy. My dad was in Kanchipuram at that time and I was with him. That was an incomparable feeling, which I will keep in my mind. It was a first-day-first-show screening. It is a kind of film that you can watch countless times. The style, dialogue-delivery and the feeling of mass that the film evoked is something that stands the test of time. It has been a long time since I had an experience like that in the theatre.

There are two other two experiences that I can never forget. The first one is the time I watched Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu with my family at Sangam theatre. Watching my first film in an FDFS with the public was an unforgettable experience. I was anxious and scared, but the response to the first show from the audience was brilliant.

Another experience was Ratsasan. The audiences were so involved in the experience that they were reacting to every sequence aloud. For instance, they were scolding my character and Kaali’s character during nail-biting sequences. They were so engrossed in the film. That was remarkable for all of us. We knew that we had made a good film, but we did not expect people to enjoy the sequences to that extent. We, especially, did not expect family audiences to connect to a psychological thriller. The entire vibe of the theatre was something I have never witnessed in any of my other movies.

When we started our careers, 10 years ago, it was all about the big screen. Today, we have Tik Tok stars and YouTube stars, apart from OTT stars. But back then, the term ‘star’ would denote an actor starring in cinema. So, for me, films are all about the theatrical experience.