I am comfortable with Sameera
of Nadunisi Naaygal
has been with me for the past 4-5 years and
has worked with me in the production and direction
side. His body language was useful to me while
I was scripting NN. There is some kind of
quest in him which I have used in the film.
I am, of course, comfortable with Sameera,
as I have worked with her in Vaaranam Aayiram
and I know there would not be any date issues.
She is also a very dedicated and hard working
artist. In addition to them, I have introduced
Deva who has acted as a police officer in
the film. I am sure Deva is here to stay;
he is young and will do really well. Swapna
is a musician who has done the important role
of Meenakshi in the film. The cast is not
complete without Ashwin, a notable new find.
NN has no music. Your comment?
When I was writing the script, I knew that it has
to be scored in a particular fashion. Generally, in
films like these, music will play a major role in
augmenting the fear factor. I saw there was a short
division of music in the script itself. So, I thought
why not go ahead without music and that’s the
reason I have done NN without music.
think films with a strong content will influence the
impressionable minds in a wrong way?
The extent of cinema influencing someone is debatable.
It is wrong to believe the components of cinema will
work in real life too, both in a positive and negative
way. Someone is not going to change their ideas or
beliefs just by watching a Mahatma Gandhi film. I
am sure and I also believe that not even 1% will jump
to the other side just by watching films. All that
I want to say is such people (psychologically affected)
do exist and there are such prevalent issues and have
cautioned women because there could be danger lurking
even within known people. Hence, know your friend!
This is the underlying thought of NN.
Having said that, NN is a very hard film and it
will be disturbing. It is an adult film and people
under 18 should not be encouraged to watch it. I
have worked on a doctor’s files and am aware
of such incident but not in Chennai. I have set
NN in Chennai which is the only fictional element
in the film. I would also like to mention that all
those who are psychologically affected are not violent
or cruel but they are also docile which again, I
have mentioned in the film. So it is a little bit
is the status of Hindi VTV?
have completed the pre-production work. I
have got the songs from Rahman also. Javed
Akthar has penned the lyrics. We start the
Hindi VTV shoot on April 4th with Prateik
Babbar and Amy Jackson in the lead.
We start the Hindi VTV shoot
on April 4th
Why Prateik and Amy?
I liked something about Prateik. He has also been
receiving appreciation for his work especially in
Dhobi Ghat. Amy Jackson looks apt for a new girl.
We have given her an Indian look and have worked.
Hopefully it will come out well.
Is there any
change in Hindi VTV script to suit the audience there?
No, there are no changes. We have set the film in
Mumbai but the essence is the same.
Who is doing
Ganesh’s role in Hindi VTV?
His role alone is not yet finalized.
On Photon Kathas
I am in the industry for the last 10 years and it
is my long cherished dream. Recently I met some good
people like Venky and Reshma who helped me set up
Photon Kathas. They are the ones who showed me this
path. Today I am listening to many scripts and am
ready to produce the ventures of other directors.
It was my dream not only to produce and direct my
own films but also to produce films for others. I
am very happy about it.
A selfish motive of owning good music of others
was the reason for Photon Kathas to diversify into
the audio segment also. I love music and want to
hear a lot of music. As regards Photon Kathas, it
is a corporate structure with structured funds and
we work with bound scripts. There is a creative
team that plans and executes projects. We have finished
Anjana’s Veppam and Suseendiran’s Azhagar
Saamiyin Kudirai. Ram’s Thanga Meengal is
going on now. These three projects have been planned
meticulously with scripts and the creative team
executed the shoot based on the script. Now the
marketing team is involved in discussions in promoting
the film. It is a good setup and I am happy to be
a part of Photon Kathas.
Ram’s Thanga Meengal brought
tears to my eyes
makes you agree to a project of a newcomer?
it is the story. I listen to the story like
an audience. If I like it, then others will
check out for budgeting, selection of artists
and financial viability. I don’t get
into that. Of course, I know what’s
going on. In fact when I heard Ram’s
Thanga Meengal story, I had tears in my eyes.
Therefore it occurred to me that audience
also will also have a similar feel and I decided
to go ahead. Venky and Reshma stepped in and
worked the budget for the film. Revathy from
my direction team is the executive producer
of the film. As a creative team, handling
production is very important. There is nothing
like new script or new director. If the script
is good, then we’ll do the film.
Who chose Ilayaraja for Azhagarsaamiyin Kudirai?
It was entirely Suseendiran’s idea. Even at
the stage when we received the script, Suseendiran
had decided on Ilayaraja and the cast. We listened
to the story, liked and commissioned the project.
a permanent fixture in your films
It’s a decade’s association with Thamarai.
Barring Nadunisi Naaygal, on all the projects that
I did, Thamarai is generally involved right from the
script stage. I would discuss the script with her;
explain the visuals and the situation. And I would
get the lyrics. I am very comfortable working with
her. I think Thamarai is one of the best.
stage of film making do you find yourself
still think, my next film is my first film.
It has been tough. When I was making the film
(NN), I did not think about the type of the
audience it would reach. However, now when
the film is ready for release, I am anxious,
I go through this nervous state and get inside
my shell. People who are close to me know
this. After NN, I will be starting VTV Hindi
and then I think about what next in Tamil.
I always have this anxiety in me. I work as
though I am working for my first film. Even
though it has been ten years and I have a
production company today and a certain name
which I have earned in this period and my
films are being liked by producers, theatres
owners, distributors and section of the audience,
I still think I am making my first film.
I still think my next film is my first
I don’t put in special efforts for
my dialogues to sound realistic
dialogues in your films are your forte. How
do you manage this?
it is not something that is cultivated or
strived for. In fact whenever I start a film,
I would toy with the idea of asking someone
else to write. It is only after meeting some
writers and realizing that my sensibilities
don’t meet with theirs or when I can’t
relate to their idea, I start writing. VTV
was one script I decided I would do it right
away. I took Kaakha Kaakha to many writers,
came back and did it myself. I don’t
think of dialogues as a separate component
and write it along with the screenplay. And
dialogues will flow along with the progress
of the scene. I don’t put in special
efforts for my dialogues to sound realistic.
But most of the dialogues are inspired from
what I see or hear in real life and what people
around me speak. Perhaps that’s why
dialogues in my films appear very natural.
Do you fix your characters and loop your narrative
No, I just go along with the flow of the script. Interestingly,
it was only for Vettaiyaadu Vilayaadu, where I fixed
the categorization of the character because I know
Kamal sir was playing the role. That aside, it entirely
depends on the mood and feel of that particular moment
when I am writing. It is like the genesis of a tune
from a musician out of thin air when he just touches
a musical instrument. I had no idea what I was doing
when I started writing Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya. It
was borne out of a simple statement, ‘ulagathula
evvalavo ponnunga irukkumbodu, naan yen Jessya love
pannen?’ (When there are many women in the world,
why did I love Jessy?). It has always been like that
and I never fix characters.
In 4 of your
6 films in Tamil, either the first love does not end
in marriage or the women die. Your take?
I know it is a pattern but was never intentional.
It just happened.
your clichés are liked, do you still
want to retain them or come out of them?
No, I want to come out of them. Some people
may like it and some may not. A filmmaker’s
specialty should be difference in every film,
genre and premise. That’s why I have
done Nadunisi Naaygal. But of course, Nadunisi
Naaygal is an extreme step and normally people
would not attempt such a project. But I did
it and I want to make something different
Nadunisi Naaygal is an extreme
What is your take on multi-starrers in Tamil?
Nobody other than Shankar can do multi-starrers in
Tamil. Here, heroes won’t agree to work like
that in the belief that they have individual markets
and limits. Multi-starrers will not happen here.
Is there anything in Tamil film industry that you
feel should be changed or improved?
It is about release, distribution and marketing for
me. I feel we are still caught up in Tamil Nadu alone
with just a couple of prints. This should change.
Our work should be seen by people all over the world,
not only Tamil speaking people across the globe but
also others. There are not many takers to subtitle
the work to make it reach widely. And also filmmakers
are keen to release their film immediately after completing
the shoot and post-production work. Marketing is needed
vigorously to promote a film which is lacking here.
Appropriate support from producer side is also essential
on this aspect. However one cannot blame the producer
as the interest rates are very high (36%) and it is
only logical that they want to release the film as
early as possible. I would be happy if such things
Will you do a project with Ajith?
I don’t mind working with Ajith but I don’t
know if he will wok with me.
Who would you like to work again with - Kamal, Simbhu,
Very definitely Simbhu, Kamal sir and Suriya. I always
would love to work with these three.
I might do a Malayalam film this
have not done any Malayalam film. Do you have
such plans in the future?
might do a Malayalam film this year. I have
spoken to people. It could happen by this
You have bought
Kalavani remake rights. What languages are you remaking
do you select your Assistant Directors?
want them to be educated first which brings
about the taste. There are people who want
to take this route of assistant director to
become actors. I don’t like it and don’t
encourage it. I would like them to be focused
on film making alone which I am particular
about. That aside, I don’t have a great
selection process. Whatever I feel at that
moment and how they come across to me at that
point matters. There are many film makers
today and only 10 in 100 stands out. It is
this ten who are able to communicate their
vision to the artists and make the kind of
film that they are convinced about. I take
people based on what they speak at that moment,
their ideologies and vision. If I am convinced
I take them in.
I want my assistant directors to
We bought the rights and gave it to somebody in Telugu
and somebody in Kannada. We are still holding onto
I am planning to revive
Chennaiyil Oru Mazhaikaalam
about Chennayil Oru Mazhaikaalam?
it will happen sometime. First time around
I dropped it because I was not happy with
the script. Then, I realized that the actors
were young and they needed to be trained.
I am planning to revive it very soon.
How do you destress?
My three boys at home are the major stress busters.
Just a few moments with them and I forget all those
film based issues. Besides that, I like to travel,
read a lot, watch films, and listen to music. But
it’s mostly the kids.
How do you balance
your family and professional life?
I am struggling hard to do that. It gets crazy at
the post production stage. I start very early and
by the time I get back home, it is almost 2 in the
morning. I don’t see my family at all during
those days. I am struggling hard to find the balance.
Have you at any
point in time repented your decision of entering the
No, never! Of course I have met very tough people
and have worked with bad people. But I have never
thought why I came into the industry because I have
come into this field with a lot of passion and heart.
Nobody forced me to do this. It’s not like I
had a film producer dad who wanted me to enter the
industry. I gave up something to get into this and
I am very sure what I want in this industry. Although
the times have been tough, the thought of why I ever
came into this industry has never crossed my mind.