Aari Arujunan interview: ‘Bigg Boss taught me self-discipline’


The winner of the reality show talks about the highlights of his stay in the House and the need to celebrate everyday heroes

After emerging victorious at the Bigg Boss Tamil house, Aari Arujunan returned quietly to his residence, without much celebration. He prostrated in front of his parents’ photograph, rejoined his wife and four-year-old daughter who had been seeing him every night on television the entire while.

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“This isn’t my victory. I see it as people’s victory,” says the actor, whose honesty and outspoken nature seem to have contributed in a big way to people voting for him. In a telephonic chat with Metroplus, Aari talks about taking one of the biggest decisions of his life — getting into the House — and plans ahead. Excerpts:

Who do you have to thank most for your victory?

People who have voted for me. And my wife, for being so patient and having handled all the feedback and criticism of me that came her way.

At what point in 2020 did you decide that you had it in you to compete in the House?

In my 15-year film career, I have faced more losses than victory. Offers to participate in Bigg Boss have come during previous seasons as well, but I could not take them up due to other commitments. This year, when I was in a dilemma to take it up, it was director Thamira (‘Rettaisuzhi’) who gave me the confidence. He said, ‘I know you are a good person. If you have confidence in yourself, how will you let anyone else influence you?’ That push – and the fact that I could use this platform to tell the world about issues close to my heart – is what prompted me to take it up.

Did you do any preparation before entering the House?

I have never seen the previous seasons completely. When I decided that I would take part this year, I told myself, “Why should I prepare when this is all about being myself?”

With lockdown and work from home coming into being, several regular households are increasingly became like the Bigg Boss House. Would you agree?

Oh yes. Earlier, we would be out most of the time and spend just a few hours at home. But now, with people working from home, there is a lot of time spent with family members. This can lead to both love and differences of opinion. Maybe that’s why this season of Bigg Boss was celebrated so much; perhaps the audience saw their own lives on screen. Also, having spent time in the House, I can vouch that nothing was scripted. Every contestant is as raw as clay when we go inside; it is entirely up to us to mould ourselves the way we want.

What were your biggest learnings from this experience?

It taught me what my strengths are. It taught me the importance of self-discipline. It also taught me the importance of equality in labour.

What made you the happiest from this experience?

Many people have called me to say that they would like to see their children grow up like me; I see this as a big compliment for me playing the game honestly. I’m also very happy that I could sow the seeds of change among contestants about aspects like speaking in Tamil and the importance of not wasting food.

Aari Arujunan interview: ‘Bigg Boss taught me self-discipline’

How do you handle aggressive people? Your fight with Balaji was much talked about on social media.

I recall having a heart-to-heart talk with him before we came out. I told him to be patient, listen to others and see life from other people’s shoes. Actually, I see myself in Balaji; I was like him a few years ago.

What do you wish to convey to the fans who have been supporting you in this journey?

Plant a tree. Take tuition classes for someone in your neighbourhood. Write a ‘kural’ somewhere where kids can read it. Be the reason for change. And, if there’s someone in your neighbourhood who is doing this earnestly, recognise and celebrate them. I am not the only brand for nermai (honesty); it’s a virtue that is present in all of us.

What is lined up on the films front?

There’s ‘Ellam Mela Irukaravan Paathuppan’ coming up; I would call it Tamil cinema’s first alien film. Then, there’s ‘Aleka’ and ‘Bhagavan’ due. I’m also listening to a few other scripts.

You have voiced your opinion on many important issues, including during the jallikattu protests. In the long run, do you see yourself getting into politics?

I am already in politics, just like every citizen. Today, I am in the politics of casting my vote. If, there comes a time when I feel worthy enough of asking votes, we will see.

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