I did not want to come into
After Chennai 28, I left
for Singapore. I wanted to go back to my life
in Singapore since I did not have any complaints
with that. But it’s the case of following
your family’s footsteps. My father and
grandfather were in the movies. I did not
want to come into movies but eventually I
Saroja happened; after that there was no looking
back. I worked for a number of films. I received
the State Government award for Saroja. From
then on, I have worked in about 24 films.
Now, I am involved in Mankatha, Ajith’s
50th film. It’s a huge responsibility.
This is also a mammoth effort for Venkat and
we are hoping this movie will serve as a platform
for us to reach the next level in our career.
We are putting in our 100% for Mankatha.
Mankatha is a huge responsibility
Ajith’s intro song for Mankatha
is shot in Bangkok
you have to take any special efforts for Mankatha?
intro song for Mankatha is shot in Bangkok.
What’s special about the song is that
it is shot in a club. Since that song marks
Ajith’s entry into the movie, different
types of visuals were shot before finalizing
on one. Usually such songs will have rushes
for one hour but this particular song has
rushes for about four and a half hours. I
had to compress the rushes and bring it into
the song. That was a huge challenge. Venkat
wanted a totally different setting for this,
unlike any other club songs ever shot. So
we had to work a lot to get that effect. We
had readied the song like that and the teaser
trailer will have a sample of that song.
Be it color tones or the fight sequences or
the shot to shot transitions, they were shot
according to Yuvan’s fast beats. Mankatha
employs a lot of novel techniques. Every technique
used in Mankatha is new. There is a fight
sequence that is sure to be considered as
the highlight of the movie. I can’t
reveal you anything more about it but trust
me it will blow your mind.
Every technique used in
Mankatha is new
I save my best for Venkat
Prabhu’s contribution to editing
Prabhu and I share a very good rapport. He
doesn’t even come to the edits. He sends
me the rushes and leaves the rest to me. According
to my imagination, I will do the edits. We
share this camaraderie since Chennai 28 days.
For instance, for the Jalsa Pannunga Da song
I did the edits and showed him the video in
the shoot location and the song got okayed.
So I basically know what he wants and since
I am free to experiment, the job gets done
faster. I feel a lot more responsible owing
to Venkat’s confidence in me. So every
time we work together, I feel the urge to
give him something new. Truth be told, I save
my best for Venkat.
is your relationship with Sakthi Saravanan?
am in very good terms with cinematographer
Sakthi Saravanan. In regular scenarios, there
is bound to be some level of friction between
the editor and the cinematographer. But I
never experienced that with Sakthi. He has
always been very cooperative about my requirements
of shots. For instance, I wanted a different
shot for the ‘dost bada dost’
song. He did not show so much of a flinch
but agreed to shoot as it was required by
me. In fact the reason why that song came
out so well is because of our brainstorming
sessions. I received like 4 awards for that.
And Saroja got State Award as well. Sakthi
is the man of innovation and he is always
up for trying new things. If you told him
that there is a new camera in the market that
we could use for our next movie, he would
go ahead and buy it. Venkat, Sakthi and I,
the three of us had plans to direct a 3-D
film. And I suggested Sakthi about this new
camera used for 3-D venture. Sakthi immediately
took us to the shops to take a look at the
equipment. He is very enthused.
Venkat, Sakthi and I, had plans
to direct a 3-D film
Tell us about Ajith
Ajith is a perfect gentleman. A very nice and kind
man. I had to go to the sets of Mankatha a few times
since we are using this new technique called motion
cam that involves online editing on location. Whenever
I am on the sets working, Ajith always comes up to
us and talks to us without the air of a star. We get
biriyani, pasta and similar home-cooked food when
we are in the sets. He will always ask for our honest
opinion, be it food or his acting. He has never interfered
in any of our work but always asks for our feedback.
He asks if his performance is on par with the movie’s
standards or needs improvement. I am actually surprised;
a star who has about 50 films to his credit, seeking
feedback about his performance.
Yuvan is totally cool and keeps
Yuvan and his songs for Mankatha
is the musician for all of Venkat Prabhu’s
movies. Besides, I have also worked with Yuvan
in many other movies. I share a good rapport
with Yuvan so if we need an extended score
for a song or any other visuals, he will always
oblige. For instance, for the ‘Machi
Bottle’ in Mankatha I felt if there
is an extended portion since Ajith’s
dance and Yuvan’s music was so much
in sync it would be nice to extend the song
a little bit. When I expressed Yuvan this
interest, he immediately said yes.
Whenever I edit, I do that with music to get a sense
of rhythm and particular pacing of a scene. So when
I show the edited portions to Yuvan, it’s with
music. He enjoys it. And if he feels he has to watch
it without the music, he will say so. He is totally
cool and keeps improvising. The version of ‘Kodana
Kodi’ he gave us when the song went for shoots
is different from the one we received afterwards.
I had to totally rework on the edits and when I asked
him in exasperation, he said ‘please do the
re-cuts; imagine the number of times I had to suffer
because of your edits.’ He is fun to work with.
us something about Mankatha. About the color
of the film
is a dark, action thriller. It is set in the
slums of Mumbai and is about money, about
10 people chasing a huge amount of money.
Ajith plays obviously the biggest role in
the film. Since the movie is set in Dharavi,
Mumbai’s infamous slums, we had decided
that the movie will carry a dark, grim, dirty
look. So essentially, the scenes about Dharavi
will have grimy, brown and rustic feel. In
contrast, Ajith’s portions and the heroine’s
portions have a softer look and feel. Mankatha
is also a very complex story. Venkat has done
a commendable job in terms of putting all
the actors together. The casting is perfect.
This is also a different movie for Venkat
whose strongest focus was always on comedy.
So this is his attempt to break that mould.
But the movie is not entirely dark; there
are Venkat’s touches of comic brilliance.
And Ajith complements it with his onscreen
charisma. In fact Venkat was telling me recently
how Ajith enjoyed his transformation for Mankatha
from his regular roles. which is all good
for us. I am sure it’s going to be a
treat for Ajith fans.
Mankatha is about 10 people
chasing a huge amount of money
Arjun plays a very valiant
us about Arjun and his role
has graciously accepted to take up the role
in the film. Despite the presence of other
stars and his image, Arjun agreed to do Mankatha.
Arjun is synonymous with cop characters and
he plays a very valiant CBCID officer who
goes after criminals. That’s only as
much I can say about Arjun’s character.
I have always been a fan of Arjun stunts.
There is a special stunt scene, composed specially
for Arjun in this movie. It’s a very
tricky shot. He had to drive in about 120
km/h and pick up Sumanth (Vaibhav). He managed
it quite well. Usually such stunts take a
lot of shots but Arjun did that in just one
take with ease. That is one of the highlights
of the movie.
Trisha is one of the main characters of Mankatha.
There are three heroines in this movie. Trisha, Andrea
and Anjali. Trisha plays Ajith’s love interest.
Like every other lover girl, she is also very protective
about him. She disapproves of his smoking, his partying
and stuff. There is a completely CG song between them,
which will also be a highlight of the movie. We have
recreated about 7 sets. In terms of role, she plays
the bridge between the two central characters - Arjun
Well, that’s a secret. I can’t reveal
much about it. She plays a reckless woman, who doesn’t
care what happens tomorrow. She has a song with Ajith
and Premji and supplies the humor element. She also
has a lively character. Her role is parallel to Trisha’s,
which will be colorful throughout the movie.
Your other films
Other than Mankatha, I am doing 7 movies. Vasanthabalan’s
Aravan, which is a complicated period film, set in
the sixteenth century. Vasanthabalan has done a tremendous
job of recreating the sets. This is a challenging
film for me since it’s got lots of CG works.
I am enjoying working on every scene of the film.
Besides, I just finished Aaranya Kaandam produced
by SPB Charan who is a good friend of mine. This film
got the best film award at the New York Film awards
with standing ovation. I am very happy for Charan.
This will release in the first week of June. Other
than these, I am working on Madil Mel Poonai, Kazhugu,
Thadayara Thaaka, a Malayalam and a Telugu film. Besides,
I am also working on a Tanglish film called Pickled,
jointly produced by the Singapore Government.