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Arvind Swami on playing MGR in Thalaivii: Didn’t want to mimic him

In an interview with the Cinema Express website, Arvind has explained how he prepared to portray the late actor-turned-politician.

Haricharan Pudipeddi

Actor Arvind Swami’s performance as MG Ramachandran in the Jayalalithaa biopic Thalaivii (2021) has earned him praise and applause from audiences and critics alike.

In an interview with the website Cinema Express, Arvind Swami opened on the experience of playing the iconic actor-turned-politician and why he didn’t want to mimic him.

Arvind said his priority when taking up and preparing for the character was to not mimic MGR. “I knew I should do as much research as possible," he said. "This is a bit of an emotional film as well, but there is no footage to guide us on how these people might have reacted during emotional moments, as they are personal situations.

"I don't want to get into the specifics as I don't want to glorify the work I have done. My work here was about the looks, physicality, and all the internalized emotion. I can safely say I didn't lose a single opportunity to learn about and understand this character. I was not lazy about watching all the footage and I had access to content that people didn't. Director Vijay gave me 100% freedom on how I could interpret all the information.”

Talking about the character, he continued, “It was important for me to make sure people believed that both are the same person. I didn't want to mimic him, no; I wanted to interpret the character in a way where you can see glimpses of him, his body language, his manner of dialogue delivery... I was careful that it not become over-the-top.”

Thalaivii, starring Kangana Ranaut, is currently running in theatres. The film has music by GV Prakash Kumar and also features Madhoo, Iniya, Samuthirakani and Radha Ravi.