From playing small and uncredited roles to winning a National Award, Vijay Sethupathi has gone through a lot of ups and downs and now is one the most bankable stars in the industry.

The 41-year-old actor, in an exclusive interview with International Business Times, talks about his dream of working for Telugu cinema, the experience of working for Sye Raa, winning the National Award and a lot more. Excerpts:

It is rare that actors from the Tamil film industry would want to work in Telugu cinema. What  inspired your Telugu debut?

I have been waiting to work for Telugu films. A few years ago, I told Ravi Teja that I want to play the antagonist in any of his films. Director Bobby offered me the antagonist role in Jai Lava Kusa, but I was busy with my Tamil films. So nothing worked back then. I always loved Telugu films and the way the industry here works. Also, trying something new so that you learn, is definitely not a bad idea. Especially when you are an actor, exploring new things is a must.

What is so special about Sye Raa, that you chose it to mark your debut in Telugu cinema?

I have been trying and waiting to bag the right opportunity. A film with Amitabh Bachchan, Chiranjeevi, Sudeep, Jagapathi Babu and many other amazing actors of Indian cinema, I don't think I have to wait for a better project. In fact I feel that everything happened for the good, because finally, I am making my debut with a pan India film which is a multi-starrer project. I feel lucky to have been part of this Sye Raa and working with such a huge cast has been a wonderful experience, where I got to learn a lot. Looking forward to the release of the film on October 2.

Sye Raa
PR Handout

There is no smoke without fire, and there have been many rumours that you walked out of Uppena. Was everything fine between you and the makers?

I know. The film has been delayed for more than five months. The pre-production work was going on, and I was stuck with my projects in Tamil. I wanted to complete shooting for a couple of films there, before I begin shooting for my second Telugu film. Uppena has a really good subject and director Buchhi Babu, though a debutant, is handling the film well. I have finished shooting for the first schedule already.

Super Deluxe fetched you a national award in the category of Best Actor (Tamil). Did you or anyone from the film unit expect this?

Not at all. None of us saw this coming. In fact, it took us a lot of time to believe that I won the award. There are many other actors like Ramya Krishna, Samantha and Fahad Fasil and I didn't expect that among all, I would be getting it. The makers of Super Deluxe were sure that the film would bag some or the other award but, well, I have never really worked for the sake of awards. But I'm happy that my work is noticed.

Vijay Sethupathi

As an accountant turned artiste, you always wanted some progress in lifestyle and living. So how's life now?

Life is really good and I'm very happy now. But my thoughts and approach towards things have changed as time progressed. I believe in leading a simple life and I think I am making enough money to lead a happy life. So my focus is more on work now. Looking for different scripts and good opportunities is what I am really looking forward to keep doing forever.

Vijay Sethupathi
Vijay Sethupathi with family, on the sets of SeethakathiTwitter

Is there any particular genre in films that interests you?

I like all the genres, though being part of horror thrillers in the beginning of my career fetched me name and fame. I believe that genres are nothing but our emotions. Every genre is a different feeling and emotion. Irrespective and regardless of how you want to deliver an emotion with genre, the audience will understand and relate to it. An actor cannot stick to one genre if he/she wants to excel in the skill. That's what I believe.