The performer said he would happily reprise the role, which has become the subject of numerous hilarious memes on social media.
Chellam Sir's popularity has come as a surprise, says The Family Man actor Uday Mahesh
Mumbai - 09 Jun 2021 18:01 IST
Updated : 18:07 IST
The Family Man has been trending ever since the thriller's second season went live last week on Amazon Prime Video. The show boasts a dazzling constellation of performers who have proved their mettle time and again such as Manoj Bajpayee, Samantha Akkineni, Sharib Hashmi, Priyamani, Seema Biswas, Vipin Sharma, Dalip Tahil and Ashlesha Thakur.
However, it is Uday Mahesh’s extended cameo as the character Chellam Sir that has become the talk of the town and is taking the world of memes by storm. Chellam is a retired intelligence officer who keeps popping in course of the narrative to provide crucial information to Bajpayee's character and his team.
In an exclusive chat, Uday said that he had no idea his character would become a rage on social media. “I just played my part,” he said. “I never thought this character would get so much appreciation and that people on social media would start sharing things about him. This was totally unexpected. It came as a surprise.”
The actor, who has been bombarded by the memes, is amused by the character's unlikely pop-culture status. “My friends have started forwarding them to me for the past three days. It’s there on WhatsApp and Twitter. I saw everything,” he laughed.
Uday is happy and thankful to the director duo Raj and DK for giving him the opportunity to shine. “My part was very small. There are actors like Manoj Bajpayee, Samantha Akkineni and Priyamani; so many people are there. And among them, I also got some recognition,” he said.
Stating that earlier people knew him only in Tamil Nadu because of his work in Tamil movies and television shows, he said, “But this is national-level recognition, which is surprising. I am getting a lot of calls and messages from all over the country."
The recognition has also helped Uday careerwise. “I am getting offers. People have started contacting me. I also got an offer for a Hindi film. I can’t disclose anything now. It’s yet to be confirmed,” he said.
Uday was approached by Mukesh Chhabra’s casting agency when they were in Chennai to cast for The Family Man 2. But at that time, he was offered the role of Deepan, the head of the Tamil government in exile. The role eventually went to N Alagamperumal.
“For about two and a half months, I didn’t get any response,” said Uday. “Then I got a call and they explained the character Chellam to me. I agreed to play that role, although it was small. I realized there was a fun element to him. There was a comical touch to the character. So, I accepted and the rest is history.”
Uday was glad to see Raj and DK giving every actor a free hand while bringing their characters to life. Talking about his experience with Bajpayee, he said, “Manoj is a great actor. It’s an honour to work with him.”
Not many would know that Uday is primarily a writer-director who became an actor. In fact, he was one of the screenwriters for Shoojit Sircar’s debut Hindi film ...Yahaan (2005), starring Jimmy Sheirgill and Minissha Lamba.
Uday later helped the filmmaker cast South Indian actors for his period thriller Madras Café (2013). It was during the shoot of the film that Sircar felt he should play a small character. Interestingly, the character he played was a secret RAW operative who helps John Abraham’s character.
“I wasn’t an actor at that time. I said if he [Sircar] is comfortable, I can do it. Working with John and sharing screen space with him was a great experience. I don’t feel the characters [from Madras Café and The Family Man] are similar. It was a very small role in comparison to The Family Man's,” said Uday.
During his early days in films, Uday got a chance to start off as an assistant director because of his good friend and cinematographer Natarajan Subramaniam, who was also an assistant back then. Uday later moved to Delhi with him where he met Sircar. He worked for the filmmaker for some time when the latter was making ad films.
After ...Yahaan happened, Uday was keen to direct his own film. “I met a producer in Bombay. Nutty [Natarajan Subramaniam] acted in that film [Naalai, 2006] as a hero. Now, he is a hero in the South,” said Uday. His next directorial Chakkara Viyugam (2008) also had Natarajan as the lead.
Just when Uday was set to direct his third film, he got an acting offer from filmmaker Naveen for his debut film Moodar Koodam (2013). “I played [Salim Bhai] a comical don from Bombay. He wanted someone who looks like a North Indian,” said Uday.
Uday’s first two films as a director dealt with crime. But he isn’t one to stick to just one genre. “I am not particular about the genre,” he said. “This year I am directing a comedy film. It might start in a couple of months’ time. I am basically a writer. The writer in me tells the director [in me] what film to make.”
The Family Man (Season 2) indirectly set the stage for another season in the end. Asked whether he has received a call for the next season, Uday said, “Not yet. If I get a call, I will be honoured to be a part of The Family Man again.”