Actor Rahman – Sharing his experience of cinema journey and Bollywood debut ‘Ganapath’

Actor Rahman elated to share screen with his inspiration Amitabh Bachchan

The film buffs call the veteran actor Sivakumar ‘Kaliyuaga Markandeyan’ (ever-green performer artiste) over a very long period! As such, if we have to think of another person suited for this title, it has to be actor Rahman!

Yes! Rahman made his debut in the Malayalam movie ‘Koodevide’ in the year 1983! He is stepping into his 40th year in the film industry! He continues to look as young as he was in the movie ‘Pudhu Pudhu Arthangal’! In his 40-year-long film career, Rahman has acted in over 300 movies!

Presently, apart from his efforts in Tamil and Malayalam films, actor Rahman has stepped into Bollywood to perform in Hindi movies!

‘Ganpat’, the Hindi movie in which actor Rahman performs in a significant role, is scheduled to be released on 20th October.

Amitabh Bachan has acted in an important role in this movie. Tiger Shroff and Keerthy Ganesan have also acted in this movie.
Vikas Paul has directed this movie.

Actor Rahman shared his experiences regarding this movie as well as his film career thus far and about the movies he is acting in presently.

“When I had completed my school writing the final examination in 1983 and returning to my native place with my parents who came to take me, there was a director of Malayalam films who accompanied my parents. He asked me whether I was interested in acting in movies. Coincidentally, it is a fact that just 2 days ago, I had dreamt of acting in a movie!

That dream was transferred into a reality when I got the opportunity to act in the Malayalam movie ‘Koodevide’!

At that time, I did not have any strong intentions of acting in movies. I wanted to be an Electronics Engineer. However, I had participated in various arts and cultural programmes while in school, and this opportunity to act in movies came to a beginning! As such, acting had become my whole world!

The grand success of the movie ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ is a success to be shared by all the actors in the movie! This movie, ‘Ponniyin Selvan; would be a great ‘milestone’ film for the generation of the next 20 years!

I had the thought of directing a movie before the coronavirus pandemic. I used to think along the lines of Bharathiraja and Balachander whenever thinking of directing a movie. As such, I made a storyline on similar lines.

I had given the movie the title, ‘Eden Garden’ signifying ‘God’s garden’.

However, I had plenty of acting opportunities during this period. My wife also insisted that I should not reject the opportunities for further earnings preferring direction! As such, I decided against direction.

Actor Rahman jokingly shared his unique experience on this:

“When the movie buffs saw the dances I had performed in my early movies, they considered me as a super-dancer! However, I am not a good dancer! However, they thought otherwise and I had the opportunity to act in the movie as a dance master in the movie, ‘Sangamam’!

I also thought this might be similar to disco dancing and went for the shooting! Only there I realized that I was going to perform the role of a Bharatanatyam teacher teaching girls!

When I did not know much about dancing, especially being blank about Bharatanatyam, how to perform as a Bharatanatyam teacher?! Apart from this, I came to know that the girls who were acting as my students were all from Kalakshetra, a renowned dancing school in Chennai Metro City.

As such, I explained the situation to my director and rehearsed until 4 AM on the dancing moves that I was supposed to teach! After this, I went for the shoot and managed! I continued the pattern of heavy rehearsals before the shooting and somehow managed!”

As the “Mozart of Chennai”, Music Director A R Rahman is my co-brother, the producers who offered me roles also insisted I must help them book A R Rahman for the music! I did lose many movie opportunities on this count. At the same time, I performed in the movie ‘Sangamam’ with music by A R Rahman. Rural songs were also there in this movie. As 2 ‘Rahmans’ were in this movie, high expectations were there for this movie!

I practiced quite rigorously for the dance in the climax at the Chennai VGP and the shooting was at Pollachi and performed well dancing earning a good appreciation from all concerned!

If you ask me, ‘How do you remain looking young?’ I will reply, ‘As long as there are only good thoughts, you won’t tend to age!’

He further shared: “I feel I should not have any mental stress. I do not have any bad habits. As such, there are avenues for having mental stress. As I am also in the food industry, I follow procedures as required. I do not eat much chapatis nowadays. I tend to eat more rice!”

“I had offers to act in Hindi movies at the start of the 90s itself! However, I was too busy acting in the Tamil and Malayalam movies then. I have the opportunity to act in Bollywood again at present!

I am acting in the Hindi movie Ganpat.

The director of this movie ‘Ganpat’, Vikas Paul, is well-known for making movies with good storylines. When he narrated the storyline to me and informed me that I had to perform the role of Amitabh Bacchant’s son, I signed on the dotted line on the contract accepting the offer without any further thoughts!”

I have been watching and enjoying the great actor Amitabh Bachan right from a young age! It is well-known that most os are Amitabh Bachan fans. However, I was not interested in sharing that I am his fan when I met the great actor!

However, Amitabh Bachan had already gathered details about me! Especially, there was a problem with the release of the movie ‘Kutrappathirikai’ in the 1990s. he shared about this and confirmed the release of the movie! I was struck with awe when I learnt that Amitabh Bachan had endeavoured with his effort for the release of this movie!

In my film career, I had the golden opportunity to perform with some of the greatest artists such as Sivaji Ganesan, Nagesh, Nasser, Prem Nazir, Madhu, etc. As such, I now had the opportunity to act with Amitabh Bachan as well!

As regards Bollywood, the personnel there have great respect for South Indian artists! Whatever is happening in the Southern Film Industry reaches Bollywood on the spot!

During the shooting of ‘Ganpat’, some people approached me and appreciated my performance in the movies ‘Singam-2’ and ‘Dhuruvangal Padhinaru’! With this, I realized the influence of dubbing movies! In the Hindi movie ‘Ganpat’, I acted as the teacher of martial arts to the hero of ‘Ganpat’, Tiger Shroff, I had thought they would offer me a colourful range of dresses but they turned me to look almost like a beggar!

The incidents in this movie happen in the year 2075! They have shown how the world would look like in the distant future 2075! Actor Tiger Shroff is already a trained martial arts expert. He does acrobatic turns and twists in the space! As such, he is his teacher in the movie. I was constrained to do better. Note that there is a fight sequence between the 2 of us – Actors Rahman and Tiger Shroff!

With a heavy snow-driven location in Ladakh at heights of 1000 feet, we also had the experience of a shortage of oxygen to breathe!

In my family, my eldest son was interested in acting in movies. I advised him to complete his studies first and then take it up. However, after completing his studies, he got married and looks like he has settled into a comfortable married life!

They continue making experiments in the Malayalam Film Industry. However, it is rather difficult to what extent will these experiments click! Nowadays, the tendency to compare one movie with another and also to find faults in the movie has increased! During the 90s, we performers used to sit together chatting a lot about several things and also discussing the movies! The movie team was acting like 1 big family! This does not happen nowadays! Everyone tends to be commercial. This tendency cannot be faulted as times have changed indeed!

I act more in Tamil Movies. Here, the people count on ten number of movies one has acted in! Even opportunities come based on this only! That is why it appears as though I am doing a lesser number of films.

However, the fact is that only the number of days the film runs is the factor bringing fame to the artiste! Presently, I have acted in the movie ‘Nirangal Moondru ’directed by Karthik Naren. I have acted in a role which I don’t like but it is a positive role. However, I would not like to be in that format in my real life! Mostly, other heroes would not have accepted to perform in this role!

Apart from this, the movies ‘Thupparivalan-2’ and ‘Jana Gana Mana’ are under production. In the movie ‘Anjaamai’, which is against the NEET (National Eligibility-cum-Entrance test to pursue graduate medical courses such as MBBS & BDS), a policeman who removes his Khaki Uniform and wears a black dress and a lawyer.

I have acted in the Malayalam movie ‘Yadira’ which is set for release shortly. Apart from this, I am also acting in the Web Series ‘1000 Plus Babies’ which is being produced at a budget of Rupees Eighteen Crores!