When actor Sampathram stepped foot into the film industry with no prior experience, all he wanted was to watch himself on the big screen. Predominantly seen among the villain’s ‘crew’ in several Tamil movies, Sampathram has now completed 20 years of acting, and is currently awaiting the release of his 200th film titled Kasa Kasaa.
Having been an atmosphere artist for several years, Sampathram says, “Playing the antagonist was always an aspiration.”
“When director Shankar cast me in my debut film Mudhalvan in 1999, I decided I would eventually take up acting as a full-time career,” Sampathram recalls. He says, “Despite playing a small role, the opportunity to be a part of such a successful director’s project remains a source of confidence even today.”
Eventually, the Mohanlal-starrer Janakan gave him an opportunity to perform the villain character first in 2010, and there has been no looking back since then.
His next film Kasa Kasaa is a crime thriller, which is an investigation of a murder by a journalist. It is directed by debutant Dr. Tamilsudar. This 25-year-old director has completed his Bachelor of Siddha medicine and surgery. He says, “When Dhuruvangal Pathinaaru directed by Karthick Naren, released in 2016, it gave me the self-assurance to venture into making feature films.” The director who is also the editor and producer, has acted in the film as well.
For Sampathram, this 200th film is special for two reasons: one, working with such a young director was an experience he hadn’t had before. Secondly, the story in Kasa... focuses on the villain.
Poster of ‘Kasa Kasaa’
When Sampathram met the director for the first time, he was unsure about the project. But, upon hearing the narration, he says, “The script was unique, and the determination he showed towards making this film absolutely amazed me.”
Sampathram has earned a name for his ‘fight scenes’ in many films, across languages. But watching stars such as Nasser, Prakash Raj and the late Raghuvaran playing iconic villains pushed him to work harder and strive to play such important roles.
On speaking about advancements in the film industry, the actor says that he has been enthralled by the speed at which film technology has evolved. He recalls a fire scene at a shoot, when technicians would run to keep a check on the flame levels. This, however, can be replaced with the use of graphics today. He says, “Even though such scenes may look easy to the eyes, the effort that goes behind the graphics is admirable.”
Kasa Kasaa was earlier scheduled to hit the theatres, but has been interrupted due to the lockdown that has been imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The film is set to release in the OTT space soon.
Sampathram believes that for people like him, who are still on the look-out for opportunities, OTT platforms may be a great opening. The actor says, “It is a common sight where we find people watching movies or episodes from shows anytime during the day with the push of a button. This reach has widened and targets audiences of all age groups.”
He says, “These platforms can never be as effective as watching a movie in theatre, but it could be a beginning for exploring opportunities that we have never had before.”