On A Winning Streak – Jayam Ravi
Jayam Ravi’s zest for life refuses to dim and his constant zeal for trying new things always made him emerged triumphant. And if you cut deeper, you’ll find that beneath all the drama, Ravi is one of the most sought–after K-Town denizens. Adversities, disappointments and life’s lessons, he has emerged through all. And like most of today’s go-getters, he realised that the script is superior to none. His three consecutive hits – Romeo Juliet, Thani Oruvan and Bhooloham in 2015 is a testimony to that.
He is audacious in heart and Art. Known to stay away from the spotlight and keep relations and friendships close to his heart, Ravi shares with Rebecca Vargese his winning experience, life, family and friends
Hard work rubbing off
The year 2015 has been phenomenal; I don’t think I will forget it ever. Three major hits in one year and lots of awards, well, that’s something everyone dreams of. I worked really hard for it. I underwent a complete body transformation for ‘Booloham’ – I have put on 15 kilos, stayed in shape for the character for an year, and it wasn’t easy, believe me. I went through strenuous boxing training for two-and-a-half months, spent two hours a day in the gym, weights during morning, long cardio sessions in the evening and was on a strict diet regimen (mostly included proteins) – stayed away from carbs and sugar for one year. It was physically and mentally exhausting. But I kept working non-stop in 2014 and that is the only reason 2015 came to me almost gift-wrapped. All my achievements are only the outcome of the previous year’s work.
It was a very hard time to be honest, but I managed to do a little soul searching too. However, the one thing I admire about myself is that I always managed to have a positive outlook towards life. I never allowed myself to be idle and mope. During those three years when there were no major releases, I was listening to scripts and began working out to stay fit.
I have realised that only failure can teach you. As an actor I know that it sounds very clichéd, but only failure can teach you what not to do. The learning curve in a failure is more. So if you know what not to do, whatever you do becomes right. Now that is an easy mantra for success, isn’t it? Being positive was the only thing that brought me back. I know it is easier said than done, but there is no point dwelling and repenting on the past. You need to let things go, only then can you move forward.
No ego for GenNext
I used to be anti-social, thankfully, not anymore. It takes me a while to be comfortable in my skin with someone else. I cannot make conversation with someone if I do not know them; at least I cannot tell them what’s on my mind. Once I get to know who I am dealing with, I am a totally different person; I speak my mind and heart, I doubt the people who know me would ever call me soft-spoken. I am a fun person. I still have friends from school and from the industry. We catch up for a game of cards, but yes, I am not a party person. I love personal interactions. We actually have our own gang and we get along very well. The truth is I don’t like lazing around. The only time you would find me sitting in a place is while I am waiting for my next shot.
Our generation of actors are very tightly knit. Yes, there is competition, which is necessary to stay in the game, but we do not have an ego. Most of us are of the same age. We’re a cool GenNext and since most of us are from the film background we share a history. My ‘gang’ of friends include Jeeva, Arya, Vishal and Karthi; we hang out all the time. I love to watch movies that my contemporaries have acted in when I have the time. I think ‘IrudhiSuttru’ was brilliant.
Digital actors in the making…
I can no longer call myself a film actor, I guess we all need to call ourselves digital actors. I feel sad that we no longer shoot on film, because I entered this industry when film was treated as God, now-a-days you can shoot movies on a cell phone. The industry has become very technically resonant today; be it in terms of sound, projection and editing. The audience too has also transformed over the years. Not only has their taste in cinema has evolved, the viewer wants, as my friend Ganesh Venkatraman puts it, ‘instant gratification’. It certainly puts pressure on the actor to deliver his best within those two hours. The audience wants films to be short and concise. However, this has allowed a new wave of cinema to emerge. There are exceptional scripts that are pouring in and brilliant directors are making their mark in the industry. There is so much new blood coming in and I feel that is extremely healthy.
I have learnt a lot from my father and brother. Entering the industry was a cake-walk because I had a background. Later, be it a new comer or an actor with background, you have to prove your mettle. But having my family in the industry made life easier. My sister, on the other hand, has moulded me as person. She taught me etiquette, discipline, and how to treat and respect women. We still do fight, but there is a lot of love. After all I’m always her baby brother (smiles). I remember my favourite memory from my childhood has a lot to do with my classical dance training. In school I would receive so much applause once I got onto stage, because everyone wants to see a boy dance Bharatnatyam. The girls used to go green with envy when they would lose classical dance competition to me.
I am romantic when it counts
We met through a common friend and then kept bumped into each other at a couple of other places. We exchanged numbers and then you know how the story goes (blushes). The thing I love about her was even when we first met she saw me for the person I was, not as an actor but as a human being and that stood out for me. She’s been with me through better and worse for nine years now and knows me through. I think that one thing she doesn’t like about me is that I am the most unromantic person that there can be. Aarthi is the one who takes me out on my birthday; I somehow have not done that for her. I don’t believe in making these big gestures of love. But I am romantic when it counts, if I love someone, I love them with everything I have got.
There are times when she does feel a little insecure about intimate scenes on-screen, but Aarthi knows it is my job. She drops in on the sets and sees what I do. She even knows who I’d go on a date with given the chance; it would be Drew Barrymore. I think the only thing that holds women back is that they think that they are weak. Women are in fact just the opposite. They have such strength and fortitude that only they can possess. Only a woman can love unconditionally, it may be a husband, father, mother or a child.
My wife is my stylist
I like Evoluzione. I visit the store often; I like the collection and ambience as well. I have stopped shopping ever since I got married. Aarthi is my stylist, she shops for me.
I need to be comfortable in whatever I am wear; it is after all your second skin. I like wearing full-sleeve shirts, tee, and denims. I don’t wear cotton trousers unless I have to, somehow I feel comfortable in jeans.
Flying start to 2016
People have welcomed Miruthan and I am extremely thrilled. I respect the attitude of the audience who are always open to accepting something new on-screen. Filmmakers on the other hand are not willing to risk making something experimental. But I am glad that we took that risk and the box-office collection has crossed Rs18 crores as of now. The best review that I have received till date about the movie is that Miruthan has not aped any Hollywood zombie movie, the director tailor-made it for the Indian audience.
This year has opened to so much love. RITZ crowned me the Most Admired South Indian celebrity during the Style Awards. I think to be called an ‘icon’ entails a lot of responsibilities; I think I need to start dressing up for the job!