One of the major changes that have happened in the entertainment industry post-pandemic is the popularity of the actors who are in the OTT space. Little-known actors struggling in mainstream cinema in “blink you will miss” appearances have become stars on the OTT platform in small yet significant roles.
The Family Man 2 series which is one of the biggest hits on Amazon Prime has thrown in a lot of new Tamil actors in supporting roles. Ravindra Vijay who played the intelligence officer Muthu Pandian with style and panache has become a hot favourite among fans of the series. A few weeks back nobody remembers the role of a dirty cop he played in Anbirkiniyal or the coach in Dharala Prabhu. The kind of reach his character got in The Family Man 2 globally across languages is phenomenal, something which the films he did in Telugu, Kannada, and Tamil could not achieve.
The soft-spoken Bengaluru-born Ravindra Vijay can speak fluently in Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi, and his mother tongue Tamil. This helped him early in life after he became a doctor by profession to interact with patients. But soon the acting bug caught up with him and he joined a Bengaluru-based theatre group which helped him to work with Perch Theatre in Chennai. He was noticed and got the breaks in films in mostly villain roles. The lucky break to do The Family Man 2 came via one of its writers Suman Kumar, who knew him from his college days. He did an audition for the role, which impressed the directors Raj and DK, as the character Muthu Pandian had to know Tamil and could also communicate in Hindi with his superiors with a Tamil accent! The series was shot on sync sound. He says his biggest learning lesson was to do the series with Manoj Bajpayee. “Just watching Manoj Bajpayee playing Srikanth Tiwari was an experience by itself and he motivated everybody on the sets to give their best. The guy is an institution by himself”.
Ravindra is all praise for the writers of The Family Man 2, as the characterization of each actor was in perfect sync with the story and narration. “I would say the way the character of Muthu Pandian was written, it worked with the viewers and could strike a chord with them. He could be at ease in Tamil with his associates in Chennai at the same time could build a bridge with his Hindi speaking superiors.”
On the secret of his natural performance, Ravindra says - “performing on stage as a theatre artist helped me a lot”. The one thing he had avoided doing but ends up doing repeatedly is doing remakes. In Telugu, he played the antagonist in Uma Maheswara Urga Roopasya, a remake of Maheshinte Prathikaram. Again he is playing the villain in Ishq a remake of the Malayalam film by the same name. Negative roles keep chasing him as he plays the villain again in the Telugu film Kinnerasani. Now he has signed up to play a key role in Pawan Kalyan and Rana Daggubatti remake of Malayalam super hit Ayappanum Koshiyum! Ravindra sighs and says: “How I wish I could do a straight Malayalam film.” Anybody listening?
For the time being, he would continue to do films in all languages. He has been getting a lot of offers from Tamil, to play the lead roles. At the moment he has signed to do a film with Lens director Jayaprakash, which will be produced by Y’Not Studios. He says he has no idea whether he will be part of The Family Man 3, but is open to doing more pan-Indian series if the role is exciting.