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‘Dhanush appreciating my performance in FIR is the biggest validation’
... says actor-producer Vishnu Vishal as his upcoming film FIR has bagged one of the biggest pre-release deals across languages ahead of its release on February 11. He opens up on his 13-year journey in the industry and why he hasn’t been vocal about his successes
Vishnu Vishal’s FIR directed by Manu Anand is all set to release on February 11. Even before a month of its release, the film has made a huge business and it’s the biggest of his career yet. “Not today, I have been constantly telling myself for the last few years that good content always makes good business. When we spoke before the release of Ratchasan, I remember saying this will be the best film of my career. I even guaranteed that I would return my salary if the film bombs at the box office. Ratchasan went on to become one of the biggest successes in India that year. Now, I guarantee that FIR is even a bigger and a better film than Ratchasan and will take me to new heights in my career,” begins Vishnu. The film will be released by Udhayanidhi Stalin’s Red Giant Movies in Tamil and Ravi Teja in Telugu. “Udhay anna has always been there for me. I never go to seeking favours but here I had a good content on hand and I wanted him to watch it. Being a professional, he let his team watch the film first before making a decision. Later, he watched it and was completely convinced and said that he will release it for me. Similarly, in Telugu Ravi Teja sir watched the film, thanks to my wife Jwala as she is good friends with a few in Telugu film industry. When he watched the film he had all good things to tell me about it and asked me how I landed such scripts. The business has been good in Malayalam and in Hindi as well,” he says with a smile.
Vishnu says that director Manu Anand came to him with a couple of scripts and expected him to choose the other one and not FIR. “Manu has been with me for quite a long time now and has been a part of my previous productions. He has seen me going through various things. When he met me with a couple of scripts, I chose FIR. He thought that I would be choosing another one with a lot of heroic elements to it. FIR is a film that talks about religion too. We have been divided by a lot of faith. My mom has a pooja room in the house that is a sanctum for all gods. My best friend’s name is Syed Mohammed and we discuss religion. We share a belief that we have been divided by religion and it benefits only a few. That pain is the underlying message in FIR. I have a medium to convey a message. So, why not? I am not here to preach anything. I am making use of the opportunity to tell people something good,” he explains.
Vishnu says that the best compliment he has received so far was from Dhanush. “About 250 people have seen the movie so far and they all said they found it good. Dhanush too watched it and said that my performance is better than what it was in Ratchasan. Coming from a performer like Dhanush, that could be the biggest compliment,” says the actor. He clarifies that this is the immediate film he chose after Ratchasan. “I signed Silukkuvarpatti Singam before Ratchasan. FIR and Mohandas are the films I chose immediately after the success of Ratchasan. The audience is very intelligent. Making movies for them isn’t an easy task. They can predict the storyline easily. But that won’t be the case with FIR. They are in for a surprise with each and every scene,” he tells us.
Having tasted repeat success Vishnu hasn’t been vocal about it and he does not even throw lavish success parties. “Why I don’t celebrate is because Tamil cinema hasn’t celebrated me. It’s that simple. My career would have been in a different trajectory altogether if producers here celebrated me. I can assure that 85 per cent of the producers who funded my movies have not run into a loss. The rest 15 per cent wasn’t because of me and you know why because we have discussed this before. Dilli Babu believed in Ratchasan’s script when no one did. Not everybody here is like Dilli Babu. I decided to bankroll my films because it satiates the actor in me. I have become a split personality now. The producer in me has invested Rs 100 crore in the next five films for the actor in me. I have asked the actor in me to be vigilant and not take the producer Vishnu Vishal for granted. If the actor does a good job, the producer will invest more in him,” he concludes.
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