“We’ve made a very honest film,” says a confident Karthi, straight off the bat, as we start talking about his forthcoming Tamil release Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru.

In the film, he has donned khaki to play an upright police officer. Based on some true events that took place between 1995 and 2005, Karthi opens up about the film and working with director Vinoth in this exclusive chat with Firstpost.

This is not the first time Karthi has played a cop. In Siruthai, the Tamil remake of S.S Rajamouli’s Vikramarkudu, he was seen as a fierce police officer. He says Theeran is very different in its tone and presentation.

Karthi in Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru.

“What you saw in Siruthai was a much commercialised version of a cop. Even as a film, Siruthai is more commercial but Theeran is very realistic. In Theeran, you see a police officer’s life from close quarters. The ordeal police undergo to crack the case will make us realise how much they sacrifice to do their jobs. When I heard the story, it immediately struck a chord within. I found it to be very realistic and the way we’ve executed it will leave a strong impact,” he says, adding that he had heard about the case discussed in Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru while researching and preparing for his role in Siruthai.

“I remember hearing about the case in one of my discussions with a police officer. Later, I heard about this same real-life incident from Vinoth, and I felt strongly that I shouldn’t miss this project. Moreover, I loved Vinoth’s first film and I saw this as a great opportunity to work with him,” he adds.

Recalling the experience of working with Vinoth, Karthi says he has brought a new definition to the portrayal of cops on screen in Tamil cinema: “He’s very clear about what he wants. He even knows how much time is needed to shoot a particular scene. He was very well prepared and I was amazed by his clarity and balance. Even before I could come on board, he had done most of the research required to play my character. We have had several cop stories over the years but every time a new director comes along we get a new viewpoint about cops. Vinoth has given the cop story a new definition. Since the film is based on true events, it has a new flavor and nuances which I believe audiences will love.”

Was Theeran a challenging project to shoot, given its grueling outdoor schedule? Key portions of the film were shot across extremely hot places such as Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Madhya Pradesh.

“The challenging part was to pack in all the elements to make the film work, and at the same time keep everything engaging. Right from the beginning Vinoth was clear that the film has to be entertaining, engaging and educative. It’s not easy to balance all these elements. As an actor, I found Kaashmora and Kaatru Veliyidai to be more demanding and challenging. Theeran, on the other hand, was physically taxing because it’s one of the most extensive action films for me. It wasn’t easy to execute the action sequences,” says Karthi.   

With the film slated for release on Friday, Karthi is looking forward to the reception from audiences.

“I’m waiting to watch how people will react. I think the result of any film is based on the response we get from the audience. A film has to be completed within stipulated time and budget and we believe we’ve given our best within these constraints. Since it’s based on true events, there are things which you can show and some you can’t. We also had to take all these factors to put together a product which is finally entertaining. It was not an easy call to take because you to have make certain compromises. Nevertheless, Vinoth has put together an entertainer that’s equally realistic,” concludes Karthi.

Also starring Rakul Preet Singh and Abhimanyu Singh in important roles, the film is produced by Dream Warrior Pictures and music by Ghibran. The film also releases in Telugu as Khakee.