Actor Karthi says he is excited to showcase his work to a wider audience with Mani Ratnam's magnum opus "Ponniyin Selvan-I".
Already an established name in Tamil cinema where he made his debut with hard-hitting drama "Paruthiveeran" in 2005, the actor has given hits such as "Paiyaa", "Naan Mahaan Alla", "Siruthai" and "Kaithi" over the years.
With Ratnam's period action film "Ponniyin Selvan-I", based on author Kalki Krishnamurthy's 1955 Tamil novel of the same name, Karthi is being introduced to audiences outside of Tamil cinema.
"I'm a part of a very large film. I have all these lovely people for support. Normally in my films, I'm the only person facing the pressure, probably me and my director.
"But here we have more support to face this pressure. You feel all the more confident because you are getting launched by Mani sir in a film. So, I feel blessed that I'm getting introduced to a larger audience through this movie," the 45-year-old actor told PTI in an interview here.
The film, which arrived in theatres on Friday, tells the story of the early days of Arulmozhivarman, one of the most powerful kings in the south who went on to become the great Chola emperor Rajaraja Chola I in the 10th century.
Karthi essays the role of Vanthiyathevan, a brave and adventurous warrior, alongside Vikram starring as Aditha Karikalan, Jayam Ravi as Arulmozhivarman, Trisha Krishnan as Kundavai and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as Nandini.
The actor, who started his film journey by assisting Ratnam on the cult hit "Ayitha Ezhuthu" (2004) and later starred as a lead in his 2017 movie "Kaatru Veliyidai", hailed the director for revolutionising Indian cinema with his work.
"He's been a cult director right from the start. He just turned the cinema on its head. When we grew up, the kind of music he brought out for us and the way he created his characters," Karthi said.
Ratnam, whose prolific filmography includes gems such as "Iruvar", "Roja", "Bombay", "Dil Se.." and "O Kadhal Kanmani", has trained audiences to be more "sensible", the actor said.
"As a filmmaker, the way he understands people and emotions, he is so sensitive. He trained audiences to be more sensible and artistic. The issues he picked... How personal he can get into the characters and relationships..."
"Ponniyin Selvan-I" is also special for Karthi as it is his first-period movie. He got to witness the world of the Chola empire, one of India's longest-ruling dynasties, he added.
"As actors, you're trying to get into a different person's shoes every time. But when you do a period film, you're getting into another world.
"To me, it is such a rich world and you want to go and experience that world. The added benefit is that you get to be in a different mindset, wear costumes and do various things like horse riding," he added.
"Ponniyin Selvan" is backed by Ratnam's production house Madras Talkies and Allirajah Subaskaran's banner Lyca Productions. Music maestro AR Rahman has provided the music with cinematography by Ravi Varman.
The film has been released in five languages -- Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi.