Srijay Gokul, grandson of renowned Actor Vijayakumar, and nephew of famous actor Arun Vijay, is a medical student who is following in his parents’ footsteps on a journey to becoming a doctor. While this young, talented academic is focusing on his dreams of becoming a doctor, he is also pursuing his other passion that stems from his famous Grandfather and Uncle, acting.
In an exclusive interview with Adar Lifestyle, Srijay spoke to us about growing up in one of the first families of Tamil Cinema, his relationship with his grandfather and uncle, how he balances his time between medicine and acting, and much more.
How was your experience, growing up in one of the pioneer families in Tamil Cinema?
I had one of the best childhoods anyone could ask for, growing up in one of the first families that entered the Tamil Cinema Industry. We are quite a large family and living together was a treat. Having my Grandad, uncle, and even my aunts always busy shooting, while my parents were constantly on call, rushing back and forth from hospital ensured there was never a dull moment at home. But with all the adults busy, most of my time was spent with my Grandma. She was the rock of our family & was always there whenever I returned home from school or outings, ever ready to take care of me. Everyone will agree that she is the light of our lives. There was never a dull moment growing up.
What kind of a relationship do you share with your Grandfather?
Granddad and I share a special bond. We have a lovable relationship. He is my hero. He has inspired millions of people. In my life, he has been the one to have the biggest impact. All my dreams, passions even how I lead my day to day life stems from what he has taught me and keeps teaching me.
He is my most favorite person on this planet. He has been the one to always guide me. Everything I know today and everything I am, I learned from him. He always made time for me while growing up. We were quite a large family and sometimes it was tough to give quality time to all but he made sure he gave me the time I needed, helping to mould me throughout my childhood and teaching me right from wrong not just in life but also pertaining to the Tamil Cinema Industry. Even today he guides me when I need it and he will be the one to always stand beside me in all my future decisions as well.
Your parents are leading doctors. How has this impacted your choice in career?
Growing up becoming a Doctor was my passion as both my parents were doctors by profession. My mother is an Emergency Physician while my Father is an Orthopedic Surgeon. They are very passionate about their work and are extremely hard-working individuals. I admire their dedication because being part of a family-like ours; it would have been easy to get distracted or want to change or give up one’s profession; however, they stuck to their choices. Especially my mother she didn’t let herself get waylaid, she stuck to her decisions and ended up being one of the first female Physicians in her field.
In fact, I am currently following my course in the same college they did, at Ramachandra Medical College, Chennai. Especially now during this global pandemic where doctors are in high demand and respected for their courage, seeing how dedicated my parents have been during the past 8 months, has really had an impact on me, making me want to pursue this career path more.
How have you managed to balance both your medical studies and your work and passion for acting?
Balancing my work properly is of utmost importance to me, whether it be short films, photoshoots, or any other projects, I make sure my degree is given the importance and time it needs. Currently, I have not found it too hard to manage everything, however, this may change as the course proceeds and becomes tougher. Making sure I am punctual and doing my work on time is the key that will continue to help me maintain the necessary balance even as my course proceeds.
Give us some insight on your first experience as an actor?
Being around my uncle during all his shoots helped me watch and learn from one of the best. I have been watching my uncle act since I was a child and I have witnessed him grow into an amazing actor who is respected & loved by many. I am extremely proud of all his achievements and this propelled me into wanting to act myself.
This led to my first short film that was done for Galatta. Besides doing photoshoots, that was my very first experience in front of the camera. It was a really great experience as my uncle helped coach me for it. He was happy with my work and I was really proud and happy when he told me that in certain scenes he felt I looked like him. To me, that was high praise.
One of the biggest stars in Tamil Cinema is your Uncle, tell us about your relationship with him?
It is widely known by all who know me that my Uncle is one of the people I love the most in the world. He is one of the biggest inspirations in my life. I admire how he maintains himself. He is physically one of the fittest people in the Tamil Cinema Industry. Not just physically, but mentally as well, he is a go-getter who works very well under pressure. He is not just an inspiration to me, in fact, he is an inspiration to many people who know him.
My Uncle is one of the most talented actors in the industry and I am extremely proud to see all his hard work paying off, catapulting him to greater heights. In fact, it is his inspiration that is reflected in my own work.
Tell us a little bit about the fitness regime you follow.
People usually consider fitness to be difficult. However, it is quite the contrary. Fitness is very simple. I don’t say that lightly. I was a chubby kid and growing up I was always bullied about my weight. This pushed me to try and lose weight and sadly I started off wrong and ended up losing too much and becoming anorexic.
Everyone was extremely worried about my health, and this was my turning point. I realized it wasn’t about being fat or thin but about being healthy and fit. I decided to train for myself instead of for what others were saying about me. When I started training for myself, I saw results. This pushed me to keep going. My uncle played a big part in my fitness journey as well. Being a fitness buff himself, he gave me a lot of good advice on how to train & work each muscle to get desired results while maintaining a healthy intake of food. With his guidance, I split my fitness training into 2 parts; cardio and weight training. I enjoy doing a lot of running in addition to push-ups, pull-ups, and other groundwork.
I try to work out 1 hour a day at least 4 times a week but if time doesn’t permit this then atleast half an hour a day.
Along with the physical regime, I make sure I eat healthily & maintain a healthy lifestyle. I get the correct quota of proteins, vegetables, and carbs daily maintaining a healthy diet as much as possible.
When can we expect to see you on the Big Screens? Any upcoming projects we need to keep our eyes open for?
I want to help people improve their quality of life and help them smile. Therefore, completing my medical degree is my first priority as I love shouldering responsibility & being a doctor means shouldering a tremendous one. Being an entertainer stems from my need to make people happy and want to see them smile.
Once my MBBS is completed, if everything falls into place and with my Granddad’s blessings, I will step into the Tamil Cinema Industry.
Calm, composed, and compassionate, Srijay has all the makings of becoming not only a good actor but also a great doctor. We at Adar Lifestyle wish him all the best on this journey he has embarked on and is waiting eagerly to see him gracing the big screen.