We welcome Pongal with Lingusamy’s most awaited Vettai. The celebrated director was glad to take out sometime out of his busy schedule and share some insight into the world of direction. Here is an excerpt from the interview.
Hi Sir, kaalai vaNakkam. We would love to start of, asking you about how you respond when associated as being a successful commercial director?
If you were to ask me, I haven’t made an out and out commercial film. My films have been successful, yes. I have been called so seeing the films I have made so far.
Well as far as I see it my movies are successful not because they were sellout commercial dramas but because of the variety. Just recall Aanandam and Paiyya. As a matter of fact, no one can predict the content of my next movie. Of course it is easy for people to categorize and put me in a particular slot.
Sounds good, well recently we also heard that Vettai will have a remake in Hindi.
I am in discussion with UTV Movies hopefully in Tamil Vettai well do well at the box office. The producers will take it from there onwards. Ronnie Screwala of UTV saw the film and rang me in the middle of the night to tell me it’s the ideal script, with an appropriate tempo and screenplay for a Hindi movie. If anything works out then it will be UTV and Thirupathi Brothers who will be producing the Hindi version and I will direct it.
Wow, amazing. Do you agree that movies must entertain the audience from beginning to end?
Well I always look at films sitting where the audience is. Of course in the theatre a family is there to have fun and entertained , maybe it is because of this that I stay away from subjects that make me think a lot once I am away after watching a movie in the theatres. I will always love to make something that entertains me at the end of the day. With time my tastes evolve too hopefully it will be a welcome change for my audience too.
Oh really does the movie have a lot of comedy too?
I like my characters to live a very straight role and believe that comedy should be a part of the story rather being a parallel track designed to make people laugh come whatever may. Vettai is neither an action film nor a comedy film, rather a film full of interesting scenes.
Haha, we totally recall the formula based movies happening these days.
Yes. I am glad you got what I mean.
Are scenes more important to you than a story?
Yes, in my mind, I always have a preference for the scenes story always follows. The magic in the scenes is what I really want in my movie to keep the audience glued to the screen. To me, ultimately more than the story, the scenes and the making of a film are more important.
So Sir tell us what’s really special about Vettai to you?
As you know it’s my seventh film and I have tried to learn from my previous attempts and given it the best shot I could.
Nice, we are sure the box office will be on your side soon. Where did the inspiration behind making a film on two brothers and two sister’s spring from?
That is a long story but to cut it short I owe to my mother’s story. She told me a story about a man who was scared of everything. The role played by Madhavan is a man who, cries for help to his younger brother surprisingly when he used get beaten up. In some situations he would yell out to his foes “let my younger brother come, I will tell him’. Now here I was with two men, and I needed two women, so I thought, why not two sisters, like the two brothers? That is how the four characters came into being.
You made your debut as a film director with Anandam in 2001, a family drama a huge success. Followed by an action thriller, Run, with R Madhavan that was a success again. Then it was Jii wth Ajith Bheema wth Vikram and Paiyya with Karthi, a fabulous record indeed. Now after almost a decade you think of Madhavan again?
I think it is the trust I have in him as an excellent performer who has stood strong in the industry for so long. If you give him a character, he will do it beyond your expectations. So, while thinking about the film and later on writing the script, I felt that if Madhavan were to do the comedy, it would be amazing. I approached Maddy and told him that if he wouldn’t agree to do the role, I would not make the film.
Why did you think of Arya whose image is not that of a strong man?
Once you watch the movies you will realize that the highlight is the chemistry between Maddy and Arya.
And of course the most surprising observation about the characters is the choice of Sameera Reddy typically known for her modern, urban style in Tamil films. Somehow you thought of her as a village belle?
You know it is just like presenting Rambha in a sari in Aanandam. For her also, it was a new experience. I really wanted to shock everyone through my casting.
Was it tough since she doesn’t understand much Tamil but you were reluctant to have her still in the movie?
Yes, the language barrier was always there, it was tough for both of us. She didn’t know any Tamil although her performance has not suffered.
Tell us a bit about your plans as a producer?
There is Vazhakka En…, Kumki under production and then there is a new film with director Saravanan of Engeyum Eppodhum coming up. We are certainly looking to do good films under our Thirupathi films banner. We will also be producing the Hindi film soon.
What kind of a movie would you like to make as your masterpiece?
As of now my mind is focused here, I have worked so hard on Vettai I am not nervous about Vettai at all. I don’t know with what expectations people will come to watch it. I hope that their expectations match my efforts!
Still there must be a movie that you dream about?
Well then it must be a film like Mother India.It is the emotions that take you close to people and also bring them together. In that movie you have every emotion that you see in life. Then there is also Dilwale Dulhania Leh Jayenge a top favourite.
Thank you Sir for you valuable time, we are sure Vettai is going to do well at the box office. Intha Nal Iniyia Nalaga Malarum.