Pushkar-Gayatri
Interviewer : Inian & Jyothsna Bhavanishankar | Coordination : Venkatesh | Camera : Balaji | Text : Jyothsna Bhavanishankar
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PUSHKAR-GAYATRI INTERVIEW
The director duo Pushkar and Gayatri represents the gen-next creative minds that are out to paint a very fresh face of Tamil cinema. They made Kollywood sit up and take notice of them with their debut vehicle Oram Po. Ready with their next film Va-Quarter Cutting, an interesting title that draws immediate attention, the first ever director couple of India spoke to Senior Editor Jyothsna Bhavanishankar and Inian and shared their experiences of making the film.
 

Why such a long gap after Oram Po?

We are slow in writing and are laid back. We just lounge around and are not go-getters. We don’t start a project unless we are completely done with the script till the last dialogue. And the writing process generally takes time. We just hope that after this project we would finish our script a little faster. Moreover, we were waiting to meet our producer Sashikanth. As we had formed a good team of Sashikanth of Y Not Studios, Durai Dayanidhi and Vivek Rathnavel of Cloud nine, it did not seem like a long wait.

Can you explain the title Va-Quarter Cutting?

We can write numbers in Tamizh. Ka stands for 1 and Va stands for ¼ which goes with the tagline of quarter cutting. .

Is there a deliberate attempt to make cult films?

We just make films and if it becomes cult, it is awesome. Actually it is not in our hands that our films become cult, it rests with the audience. We make films which we like and we like watching such films.



We make films which we like

Would there be an abundance of Madras slang in Va-QC?

In this film, our main character Sura, i.e. Shiva speaks Kovai Tamizh. He is an outsider who comes in to the city and experiences the city. We see the film through his eyes. SPB Charan plays Marthandam, a veterinary doctor from Chennai who speaks normal Tamizh. The characters they meet during the night speak the local Tamizh. It is a deliberate effort to bring out the color, flavor and the language of Chennai. Many films have come out based in Chennai which can be placed in some other city also. However, there are not many films which are about Chennai. Va-QC is only about Chennai. We have brought out the nativity of Chennai in our film.



Va-QC is a quirky comedy

adventure.

What genre is Va-QC?

Va-QC is a quirky comedy adventure.

Why did you choose Shiva?

He is a very funny guy; even if he says good morning, it is funny. Shiva has an incredible sense of comic timing. The normal phrases that we all say will be very flat but when it comes from Shiva, it will be extremely funny. His expressions are blank and he is just perfect for the role of Sura. Shiva is actually a very talented guy not only in performance but also in his creative ideas and not to forget his dancing! He has also written the lyrics for one of the songs. His contribution to the project is very good. Shiva’s chemistry with Charan will be the most important in the film.


Shiva has an incredible sense of

comic timing

Did you write the script of Va-QC keeping Shiva in mind?

No, we generally write the script and see who fits into the roles. We went through many options and we settled on Shiva and we are very happy about it.

On Lekha Washington?

Lekha is a ditsy school girl who has failed thrice in her school exams and wants to end her life. There is no love track and through the night, she is also a part of the journey. From a very ditsy, low self-esteemed girl, she slowly transforms, gets a little more confidence and becomes normal.

About the rest of your cast?

Apart from Lekha, Charan and Shiva, there are many who play the supporting cast in the film. John Vijay plays Prince, a gambling den owner and there is an interesting twist to this. We don’t want to reveal it now. We have given him an outdated look. Then, there is choreographer Kalyan who has done a role; Abhinayshree is a police officer; SS Music Craig is an Anglo-Indian boy in the film. As it is a journey through the night, they meet a bunch of characters. There are many new faces. John’s henchmen are called Vettu and Kuthu. In addition, there are two mongrels who have acted in the film. It was hugely difficult to cast these dogs as we did not want well bred ones and were keen about street dogs. In fact, the part involving the dogs was getting delayed and we were able to complete it only towards the end of the shoot. And at this point, we would like to mention that Charan has an uncanny knack of getting friendly with mongrels and he was not even chasing them properly.



GV has done some real funky

RR in Va-QC

On GV Prakash’s music?

Oh, GV Prakash is awesome. We did our first film Oram Po with him and share a fantastic rapport with him. Not only his music, but his RR is amazing. Ever since we met him for Oram Po, our relationship has remained very good. Whenever we have a new idea, he is one of the first guys we discuss and we trust him a lot. It is always good fun working with him. Usually the song will be set in the first couple of tunes that he comes up with. When we tell him what we want, he will always come up with a tune the very next day or the day after. It is very rare that we have asked for more tunes. GV has done some real funky RR in Va-QC.

Was it your idea to make GVP sing?

No. Last time around in Oram Po, his voice was too young and we asked him to sing when he grows up. Now his voice is matured and has a good base and he is able to bring out variations in it. One interesting aspect about his voice is it is very emotive. When he is teaching the singers to sing, we found that he was much better and that’s how he ended up singing for Va-QC. The expressions come right for him. With a combination, his voice sounds very good.

Lyricist Kumararaja?

He is a very good friend of ours and we went to Loyola together. Kumararaja wrote the dialogues for Oram Po and the theme song of the film. However, this time around as he was busy with his film, he wrote the lyrics of all the songs except for the one which Shiva and Amarendran wrote.

Is it the Amarendran of Bale Pandiya fame?

Yes. He is also a good friend and has also played a small but important role in Va-QC.

About cinematographer Nirav Shah?

Nirav is the coolest guy to work with and he is a workaholic. Va-QC shoot was a very painful one as we had to shoot only during nights and everyone’s biological clock was totally upset. Even in the middle of the night, Nirav will be full of energy going about with his work. He has taken so much pain and care in every little thing which can be perceived in the film. And night shoot can become very tedious and slow as you have to light up everything. But Nirav managed it very well. I don’t think we could have done what we have done now without Nirav. Moreover, the number of hours we could shoot was extremely minimal when we go for live locations. We can start only around 12-12.30 but we have to wrap around 5 in the morning as sunlight starts seeping in. Basically we had five to five and a half hours of shoot everyday. In that limited time frame, the amount of work Nirav could accomplish was simply outstanding. More than anything, it was fun to shoot with Nirav as it was like a party.


Nirav is the coolest guy to work

with

Where did you shoot?

We shot the entire film in Chennai. Last time for Oram Po, we at least went till Chengelpet. This time, we did not even cross the border of the city.



Our relationship is very organic

How do you handle the creative differences between the two of you?

Actually, there are no differences. You may have noticed that even while we are talking for this interview, we take turns. We know each other well and practically grew up together. Our relationship is very organic. There is no division of labor and we do all the work in sync. If there is a difference of opinion pertaining to any idea, we just throw that idea aside and go to something else. This comes into play while detailing and we deal with it organically.

What is the USP of Va-QC?

Va-QC is a romp through the night. There is a complaint that Chennai has no night life and everything wraps up around 10 PM unlike Mumbai and Delhi. However, Chennai has a night life but it is underground. There are lots of things that happen at night which we want to show. The main USP of Va-QC is its comic adventure.


Va-QC is a romp through the

night

When is Va-QC’s release?

We are still finishing the film after which our producer Sashikanth and Cloud Nine will finalize on the release date which will be very soon.

Contribution of Cloud Nine?

It is a great boon that Cloud Nine came into this project because we are assured of a very good release. Cloud Nine has a standard and has been promoting a bunch of different kind of films like Tamizh Padam. The same combination of Sashikanth and Cloud Nine are only involved in our film too. So we are looking at doing things which are slightly off beat, render a new color to Tamizh cinema. In that way, Cloud Nine supporting our films is like pushing the film to the next higher level. They just asked us to complete the film and the rest will be taken care of by them. We are extremely lucky that way.

On producer Sashikanth

Although we met Sashi on a professional manner, he has become a good friend now. He is very passionate about film making process. Sashi runs his life on the basis of ‘Y not’

Is Raakozhi still on?

It is still alive on one side. We might do it now or it may get pushed. We are working on a couple of ideas. Raakozhi is just the title which has also undergone a lot of changes.

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