What is your role in this film?
I play a man who wants to succeed in life. As you know, the path taken to succeed in life is very important. Johnny is about his path and the problems he encounters in it. The film is about how he handles them, how he goes about them and how he takes care of the issues he faces. These things are narrated in a very engaging manner. I have told you about the story but the screenplay will be very interesting.
I always like to work with newcomers as they have a huge fire in their belly. In my career, I have worked with many newcomers like Hari or Susi Ganesan or Ravichandran. When I see potential in someone, I try to rope them in. My last film Saagasam was also done by a newcomer only. I wanted someone capable to handle this genre and I found Vetriselvan.
There is a long list of characters in the film and everybody shares equal screen space. We have the highly talented Prabhu sir and we have many scenes together. We all know that he is a versatile actor and is a legend in his own right. He plays a very important role and has rendered a stellar performance in this film.
Then we have Anand Raj sir who is wacky and witty at the same time. He is very mischievous but at the same time he can appear threatening too. His dialogues will be comical but reactions will be severe. I needed someone like him to play this role.
We have Ashutosh Rana. He is a phenomenal actor. He plays a very suave and sophisticated villain and the role is tailor made for him.
Sayaji Shinde the talented actor has dubbed for himself in the film. I had tried many voice artists for his role but it did not work out, so we made him sit and dub. He was very hard working to get his diction right. When you see the film, you will connect with the character as well. There is one more artist called Aathma. He is an upcoming actor and has done well.
Coming to the women artists, we have the sensuous Sanchita Shetty. She plays a role which is bold and also a fragile one. That adds color to her character.
And there is Devadarshini who in my opinion is the most underrated actress. In all her films, they have shown her in one particular way only. But after this film, you are going to see a different Devadarshini. Her character has come out very well. She is versatile, spontaneous and quick to grasp things. She has got a good fodder for her acting thirst in this film.
Then there is Kalairani ma'am from Koothu-P-Pattarai who plays a significant role. From the television, we are introducing a girl called Sandhya. We wanted someone expressive and Sandhya fit the bill. Since most of the artists are experienced, we wanted the other artists also to complement these people well enough. In that sense, she is one more added asset to the film. Arul D Shankar who played villain in Yaman plays an important role in this film. We had requested him to come for one sequence and he came and completed it. As an actor, it was challenging for me to fight for my screen space among these experienced artists. I had a whale of a time shooting.
I heard that there are no songs in the film. Is it true?
Actually we recorded five songs. We felt that they could be a speed bumper and hence we are not having them.
The BGM in Johnny is par excellence. The new talent Ranjan Durairaj worked on it for 30 days and has delivered a phenomenal output. His BGM will complement the film. The industry is going to absorb him very soon after the film's release.
Mani Ratnam released the teaser of the film. How did it happen?
We had completed the film and had to release the teaser. That was the time appa was working in Chekka Chivandha Vaanam and when we approached Mani sir for this purpose, he was gracious enough to accept our invite. He was so busy at the time with CCV but he took time off to release the trailer. As far as I know, he does not do these things. He was very kind. I thank him from the bottom of my heart.
On a closing note
This is the story that I have not done till now. It looks great. There is a huge response for the teaser and trailer and I am happy my fans are enjoying and are coming out with positive comments. I would like to say that Johnny will satisfy all those expectations.