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Karthi on 'Khakee', greatness of cops, Kamal joining politics, etc [Interview]

Monday, November 13, 2017 • Telugu Comments
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'Khakee', releasing on Nov 17, is an awaited cop drama. In this interview, Karthi talks about the film, what makes it different, why cops are indispensable, what he thinks about Kamal Haasan turning a politician, and more.

What makes 'Khakee' so unique as a cop story?

'Khakee' doesn't stop at showing what is the case. It shows what actually went behind the trial. Our director actually researched into what happened in the case of the crimes committed. The story is set between 1995 and 2005. Tamil Nadu police took the help of the police from other states, like AP, Rajasthan, UP, etc to crack the case. And it was not solved in a day but a decade.

The film is essentially realistic, but it doesn't mean there are no dramatic sequences.

When H Vinoth (director) came to me with this story, I told him that I knew the story. I had learned about the real-life case while shooting for the Tamil version of 'Vikramarkudu'. The film tells the story of an average man who becomes a cop. We have tried to show certain things that might not be interesting but they are nevertheless important in the context of the film.

Since 'Khakee' is set in an era when there were no cell phones, etc, it explores how difficult it was then for the cops to communicate with one another.

What is your character like in the movie?

The film tells the life story of my character. His journey is shown. He meets different people in the course of his life over the years.

Haven't we seen many cop stories in the past? What makes this film very different from others?

The kind of police we have seen in films like 'Singham' is a cinema police. Even I have played a cinema police in the past. But in 'Khakee', we are not showing the hero as someone who can do anything. Policemen, in fact, face a lot of restrictions. When they step out of their division, they have no freedoms. Here interpersonal skills matter.

It talks about understaffing in the police department, etc. It's also a travel film. So, different landscapes like UP and Rajasthan have also been shown. You will see the real people doing the parts.

How does 'Khakee' seek to change the perception about policemen?

Many sincere policemen care for public safety. They risk their lives and put their families at risk for our safety. While others work for 8-10 hours a day, some police work for 22 hours. Becuase they have to be on a constant vigil, some policemen need to stay put in a place for hours and days on end in difficult situations.

We can't demean the high values of sincere cops because of whom the department is functioning. Once, three old constables, one new recruit, and an officer handled a large crowd of 300 people. We have not shown this episode in 'Khakee', but we will show it in some other film.

Did you interact with any police officer while doing the movie?

I did meet with quite some of them. A police officer whom I met took me through his entire life story for 3-4 hours. He told me that nobody ever asked him his story. We have all grown idolizing policemen, seeing them as heroes.

What is the romantic aspect like?

The hero has a love story. Rakul Preet has played his love interest. She is someone who wants his man to be with her when she needs him. This role is a complete changeover for her. The romantic dialogues in these episodes will become quite famous. She is the hero's only personal life.

And the songs are not dreamy. They are in the same space as the romantic scenes. And they gel with the flow.

When are you doing a bilingual again?

When we are doing a bilingual, we need to have a very good writer first. In the case of 'Oopiri', I was fortunate enough to get an awesome director write the lines. It doesn't happen every time.

Do you regret doing 'Cheliyaa'?

Even when Mani Ratnam sir came to me, he told me that it's not a regular love story and that the character is not an easy one. He didn't want to see Karthi in it; he wanted to see VC and VC alone. When you know your work has not been received well, it's not easy to take. We learn from mistakes. One has to accept ups and downs.

What are your views on Kamal entering politics? What about you and Vishal entering politics?

When he does something, we knot it that he is informed. He is not someone who backs out. Nowadays, people's representatives are not accessible. And since Kamal sir is in public life, he will always be accessible for people.

I can't be in politics as I am married (laughs). It should be fine for Vishal as he is a bachelor.

What are your upcoming movies?

I am doing a rural drama in my brother's production. It's directed by Pandiraj. Another love story with Rakul Preet Singh will follow.

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