How is NMA different from your earlier films?
I am unable to compare NMA with my earlier works.
While in Paiyaa, my looks resembled the real me but
in NMA it reflects my actual character and behavior
at home, with my family, friends etc. I am not a hero
in NMA but an ordinary Paiyaa. Everyone can relate
to my role. If Paiyaa was a commercial fantasy ride,
NMA is more and more a realistic attempt of cinema.
It has romance, comedy and other elements of cinema.
NMA will not be dry but hugely entertaining within
the realistic formwork.
made you accept a fairly fresher’s film
after having worked with established directors?
Suseendiran surprised me. When I saw Vennila
Kabbadi Kuzhu, I understood he is a good film
maker. He has extracted quality work from
artistes, music department and from every
quarter in VKK. As such, VKK was not an easy
subject because Kabbadi is not as popular
as cricket. But he has proved his mettle in
his very first film. When he was narrating
the story of NMA, I was laughing throughout
the first half. I realized his narration was
acutely detailed and had the clarity of a
bound script. I knew that there need not be
any apprehensions. Same way, there were no
extra shots while he was filming; he exactly
knew what he wanted. More than that, he put
me at ease even while doing serious scenes.
It was more of a behavior rather than performance
from my side. It was easy working with Suseendiran.
It was easy working with
We rehearsed for a week for NMA which helped us understand
one another. I am there in all the scenes and hence
my performance is very critical. Suseendiran should
understand how I am going to perform and I should
be aware of his expectations. The week we spent in
rehearsal was very interesting and the performances
were getting better than it appeared on paper. I also
used to observe the boys playing in Lloyds Colony.
More than anything, it is only the life that I have
led as a school boy or a college lad. That’s
Do you have the
stubble in the entire film?
No, there are two looks in the film. One with the
beard and the other without it. The stubble is when
I move around happily and the other look when a change
comes into my life.
Do you wear
stylish costumes in NMA?
No. As I said, there is no hero or dream scene in
the film. It’s the life of a normal middle class
boy. I wear half sleeved checked shirts, two shoes
and go around in a second-hand bike! It is more of
a realistic film.
I am the comedian in NMA
your family watch NMA?
my mom and sister watched it. They could not
talk to anyone for fifteen minutes as NMA is
not a light film but a slightly hard hitting
one. It was impactful. They also appreciated
the comedy. I am the comedian in NMA who looks
sometimes like Goundamani and sometimes like
Senthil. There are two shades. And they also
appreciated Suseendiran’s depth of work
in screen play and characterization.
the romance in Paiyaa and NMA
Paiyaa, it is one side love. In NMA the hero
directly opens up his love to the heroine, the
characterization is as such. And there are many
interactions (in NMA) after they have fallen
in love with each other. Hence there were some
intimate scenes. Our first shot was the kissing
scene at the beach and surprisingly Kajal and
I were comfortable from the day one. We never
had any apprehensions or hesitations and hence
the scenes have come out well. Kajal has a good
sense of comedy timing. When we were dubbing,
we were laughing continuously despite having
seen the scenes repeatedly. It is a lot of comedy
more than romance.
Our first shot was the kissing
scene at the beach
Kajal Agarwal is an energy
Agarwal is an energy bomb who is always on a
high energy level. I was wondering how she is
going to perform subtly but she adapted herself
very well and very quickly. She has a good screen
presence and she is also a top heroine in Telugu.
She has a command in front of the camera. Tamannah
is very studious but Kajal is casual but delivers
perfectly. Tamannah speaks good Tamil and Telugu
and Kajal has to improve on this aspect.
And the orchestration
and everything changed afterwards. He has also sung
a song in NMA. Yuvan has worked very hard for this film
and I am benefited in the process. The script has truly
inspired him and when Yuvan is inspired by a script,
his work is exemplary. He has worked for 12 days for
the second half which hardly has any dialogues. Yuvan
is the one who narrates the story in the second half
through his music. First half songs are family based.
Iragai Pole is the ring tone of everyone these days
ever since Yuvan tweeted about it and it is also my
favorite number. Pathos song in this film is much demanding
and sounds good in Madhu Balakrishnan’s voice.
It is for the film that Yuvan has scored and not for
me. He has taken the re-recording in the film to a higher
is it that Yuvan scores are special in your films?
loudly) I think I am plain lucky. Yuvan has
scored in Paruthi Veeran and Paiyaa. Directors
Ameer and Lingusamy are musically inclined who
extract good songs from their music directors
which are always hits. Yuvan is the first PRO
of NMA which is an emotional film and not a
musical one. He first saw the film and was so
impressed that he remixed songs.
Yuvan is the first PRO of NMA
Paiyaa was the perfect fodder for Madhie’s
talent in terms of showing visual opulence in a travelogue.
As NMA is a city-based film and there are already
many films in this genre, he had to bring some kind
of difference in this project and he strove very hard
for this. NMA is a performance-oriented film and Madhie’s
work forms part of the narration. After he completed
the film, he had only this to say, “I should
not be seen anywhere as a cameraman because that is
the need of the film.” What floored me most
was that the same places which appeared romantic and
beautiful in the first half had taken on a scary color
in the second half. He has woven magic through lens
and lighting. The climax will be the highlight of
the film. The stunt sequences have been aptly captured
by Madhie who has done the right type of work in sync
with the script. In no place, he would stand out as
the cameraman but has rendered what is right for the
On the kissing
When Suseendiran was discussing the film, he told
Madhie to decide on the tone but was keen to capture
the performances as NMA is a character-based film.
Hence most of the shots were close-ups or mid-shots.
My first fan is Madhie who gives out the very first
reaction to all the comedy scenes behind the camera.
In the beach shot, my irritated response towards the
sundal boy hampering my kissing the heroine brought
in laughter from Madhie who had let the camera slip
from his hand. Whenever the camera shakes in a scene,
I know Madhie is laughing.
Rajeevan sir’s work cannot be found out at
all because once you know it is the set, then there
is no fizz. To give a small example, generally in
government quarters, it is a dreary visual. But Rajeevan
had painted the wall in blue and gave a real good
feel to the house. I don’t want to tell you
about other things but whatever you feel things are
real in the film, they are only sets. That’s
all I can say!
Hero-villain graph in NMA is
hero-villain graph in NMA is new and that’s
why none of us have discussed about it in any
of the promotions. In Paiyaa, a commercial film,
it was normal for the hero to hit many men but
in NMA it is not like that. In NMA, even the
actions sequences are realistic and we have
shown it as a struggle of the hero. Anal Arasu,
the action choreographer has understood this
and delivered it right. There would be a story
within the fight.
trailer revealed violence. Don’t you think
it will have a negative impact on impressionable
cannot do all the scenes in a pleasant fashion
always. We have to deliver what is needed for
the story. If I do every film in a very nice
way, I would be questioned even for that. The
idea is to have the trailer in the specific
way is basically to prepare the audience that
they are not going to watch Paiyaa again. NMA
is not like Paiyaa. It is a realistic hard-hitting
film. Keeping this in mind, we had a slight
overdose of violence in the trailer alone. It
was intentional. And actually, there is only
one fight in NMA which is the climax. We want
to tell you that as a city dweller you have
to protect your happiness. And you have to be
careful. The film is in fact based on a real
life incident. It tells you to be on the vigil,
and protect your loved ones.
NMA is not like Paiyaa
It was comfortable and easy
dancing for NMA
you improved your dance steps?
was needed just for one song. It was comfortable
and easy dancing for NMA. I think you will see
my improvement in NMA and appreciate.
you and Suriya are immediately being lapped by Sun
Pictures and Cloud Nine. Your comment
How can I explain? (Guffaws!) It was very interesting
to watch the promotional activities of Cloud Nine
during Paiyaa. They are fully into it and their think
tank is constantly engaged in devising new strategies
to promote the film vigorously. It is very surprising
to get such a distributor. They asked me during Paiyaa
if we could work again. They show a lot of interest.
Perhaps it has to do with the way I show my interest
too. I have always actively participated in all the
promotional activities. Secondly, probably they are
confident that I will do good work (laughs again).
How is your
Oh, he is super, a strong boy. Looks like he will
take away our sleep after a while.
I am shooting Siruthai, a remake of Telugu Vikramarkudu.
It is shaping up well. For the first time I am teaming
up with Santhanam. The shooting spot is lively and
I am having fun. It is a mass commercial entertainer
with lots of emotions and I do a double role for the
was known for its lewd comedy. Are there changes in
Yes, of course, we have made many changes. The film
was released four years back and we have altered it
to suit our audience.
When is your
When I get my bride!