Arun Vijay has acted in several films in a decade long career in Tamil cinema. So, turning into a web series at this stage was not an obvious choice at all. But the actor recently made his OTT debut with Tamil Rockerz, which premiered on SonyLIV last Friday. The actor says the combination of directors and concept convinced him to cross. In a conversation with Hindustan Times, Arun discussed piracy, including the infamous Tamil Rockers group, and the double threat cinemas face from piracy and streaming platforms. Read also: Tamil Rockerz review: A thriller so predictable that it never keeps you on the edge of your seat
Tamil Rockers is the story of the Titanic group of cyber hackers who plan to leak the most awaited Tamil movie of the year, while a police ACP Rudra (Arun) tries to trace them. Arun Vijay’s character hates cinema, something that is difficult for him. He laughs, “It was hard to say- ‘I don’t like cinema’, but then adds, “But it’s a character and you have to play it. It is very well written and in the end, Rudra comes to appreciate the cinema. It was interesting to show that process. He slowly changes and he realizes how hard it takes to make a film. I think the viewing audience will have the same sentiment.”
Earlier this month when the trailer of Tamil Rockersz was released on YouTube, it was half-commented jokingly that the series itself would be leaked online. Arun recalls and says, “I didn’t even know how to react. But I am sure once they have watched the series, whoever wrote it will come back and delete it.”
The movie piracy shown in the show is no different from the real world. Over the years, Tamil rockers have leaked almost every big movie online, from Udta Punjab to Dobara (this happened just a few days back). Talking about piracy and its menace, Arun says, “Every film has faced the same kind. No matter how careful we are, it keeps happening. Now the time has come for people to understand the pirated content and stop watching. Bringing them down is another option and that is happening. I think after watching Tamil Rockers, people will see the efforts of the industry and how many people are involved in making the film. This is a big industry. Not only financially, everyone is affected. We have seen people losing their lives. We have had incidents. We have to end it now.”
But despite the piracy, the films continue to earn, especially in the south and Arun sees this as a promising sign. He argues, “We have been dealing with this for quite some time. It is an ongoing process. But the good thing is that people want to watch movies in theatres. On and off, people are proving it and I hope that the movies Will continue to assemble in a big way. After covid, we have seen films doing business in a big way. I think it shows that people’s love for cinemas is still there.
In the aftermath of Covid-19, there is another threat to theatres- the increasing affinity of the audience for the streaming platform. And Arun says that there is only one mantra to bring the audience back inside the cinema hall – good content. “Actors and creators need to keep in mind to give people good content and theatrical experience, what can we do to excite them in the theatre,” he says, “that is something we have to work on. People are watching OTT, they are watching global movies. They are well educated now. We have to keep that in mind and try to give something different.”
Tamil Rockers is the first of many OTT shows in Tamil, which is finding audiences across the country just like the South films. Calling it a sign of a blurred language barrier, Arun says, “Good content is getting wider acceptance. Now everything is global and the feelings are the same. People are ready for this. It’s good for actors like us because we have a wider reach and crossovers can happen. We can work in the north and people there can come to cooperate with us. this is wonderful. The language barrier is slowly being removed.”