Almost fourteen years have passed since then Pasanga hit the screen. But Vemal, who made his debut as the male lead in the film, hasn’t aged a bit. Even in its latest edition Dave Machan, he continues to play a character in his twenties. It sure takes a lot of effort to look the same for nearly two decades. But has he ever considered acting his age on screen? “Well, I haven’t really given it much thought. I guess Vilangu 2, which is currently being written, will mark the beginning of more such roles appropriate for my age. I will be playing the father of a schoolgirl in the new season,” he says.
the big boss-famous Anita Sampath who plays Vemal’s sister Dave Machan gently shares that they have a brother-sister relationship even off-screen. “Although I have done a few cameos, this is my first project as one of the leads. I was naturally nervous and Vemal anna was the one who calmed me down and made sure I gave my best. A newcomer like me can perform without any ulterior motives only when they get such support from the stars taking over the film. When the actors are comfortable with each other off camera, it always shows on screen.”
Compared to his last few films, Vemal is his best comic film Dave Machan. He says that detachment from personal problems is the key for an actor to give his best in comedy. “I’ve learned to block things from going into my head while acting now. So external factors can no longer hinder my performance. To have a cheerful team like the one I had in Dave Machan it really helps. But what’s going on in your head before you get in front of the camera is what matters.” He continues, adding that the results of comedy films can be quite surprising. “A lot of times the comedy sequences that we’re betting on at most, are the ones that bomb horribly, and sometimes the simplest one-liners become internet trends. I’m sure no one can fully predict the outcome of comedy films.”
Read: Dave Machan’s Film Review – Interesting idea let down by sloppy execution
Dave Machan is the feature film adaptation of director Martin Nirmal Kumar’s short film All dust. Incidentally, newsreader and reality show contestant Anita also first tested the waters with short films before venturing into multiple avenues and finally transitioning to the big screen. “I acted in a lot of short films when I was in college. I believe they trained me as a performer. Being an expressive person, reading the news was the most difficult for me as I had to completely mask my emotions when on camera.”
Although Vemal has been a part of multiple remakes in the past like Janal Oram (ordinary), Ishtam (Yemaindi Ee Vela) and Pulivaal (Chaapa Kurishu), Dave Machan is his first short film adaptation. He states that seeing a snippet of the feature film in the short film gave him the confidence to take on the project. “I laughed out loud in a few places when I was watching All dust for the first time and it helped me to better appreciate the mood of the film. I believe Dave Machan is a better version of the original short.”
Vemal has played close boy-next-door roles in most of his films. Asked if he ever wants to do shades of gray or play a larger-than-life character, Vemal says, “I definitely do. Aana ipodhaiku kedachha vechi pidichadha adaya muyarchi panren. Every time I face the camera, I feel grateful because there are many actors more talented than me without a chance to show their potential.”
Anitha and Vemal are polar opposites when it comes to online presence. While the former became famous thanks to the internet and still keeps all her social media feeds ticking over, the latter is a private person who stays away from expressing herself. Vemal admits that he did not realize the importance of social media presence until recently. “I’ve had the awakening just now and I’m finally considering upping my social media game,” he says. On the other hand, Anita, who is fully aware of the power of the media, shares that she doesn’t get enough. “The Internet is not a bed of roses filled only with positivism. But I truly believe that the only way to deal with hate online is through the love that comes from it. Even though I know a lot of people don’t like me, the love I get from my followers keeps pushing me to create more content.”
Dreams are a huge plot device in the fantasy country comedy, Dave Machan. The story follows the protagonist Vemal’s quest to stop his supernatural nightmare from becoming a reality. But does Vemal harbor a dream that he wants to make a reality soon? “When I was young, my only dream was to become an actor and lead a luxurious life. Since that was obviously fulfilled, I guess my current dream is for everyone to call me a good actor,” he signs off with a big smile.