Vetriman is just one films old but his critical acclaimed debut venture Polladhavan, which was a blockbuster and gave Dhanush an action hero image talks more of the director. From the schools of of ace filmmaker Balu Mahendra, Vetri Maaran talks to media in an exclusive interview.
First things first. You were very silent for over two years…
People ask me why I took such a long break before beginning my second film. I have always felt that when I took 33 years to make my first film (Polladhavan), this two-and-a-half year gap is not much. For me, it is not just about making a film, it’s learning something new. It’s my personal choice. I am aiming at moving one step ahead creatively with each film. I want my films to be remembered, rather than me being remembered.
We started Aadukalam in February 2009 and it was completed in March 2010. Now the CG (computer graphics) work is going on at Ocher Studios.
There are murmurs that Aadukalam is a period film..
Aadukalam is not a period film, it is very much a contemporary, mainstream picture. When we chose Madurai as the appropriate backdrop for the script, we went to Madurai, stayed there and did research on its dialect and way of life.
What’s Aadukalam about?
Aadukalam means arena or playing field. Life itself is a playing field where one has to play games for various reasons. The movie is about two generations and their ideologies. It can be categorised as having an ethnic, rural milieu with emphasis on Tamil identity. But it is not a regular Madurai film which deals with the culture and practices of people there. This is more about the sub-culture that prevails there.
Why Dhanush again?
When I write a script, I put a lot of myself into the role of the protagonist. So while casting, I wanted someone similar to me. Dhanush was the only person who came to mind. According to me, Dhanush is the best performer among the younger lot. You will understand why I am saying this when the film is out.
What was it like working with Dhanush for the second time?
Dhanush is like camphor. I would just explain the day’s scene to him and he would come up with a surprising output. He worked really hard to get the right look and learn the Madurai slang. Thanks to my dialogue writer Vikram, who hails from the temple town, he helped Dhanush get his act right.
Tell us about the rest of your cast.
It turned out that tapsee pannu, the heroine, fit the budget. She did not know a word of Tamil when she joined our unit. One of the team members taught her the language. She didn’t mind any number of retakes. For her first film she has done a good job. Kishore, who of late, does only lead roles, has played this character because he loved the script.
G.V. Prakash said that Aadukalam is one of the best things that ever happened to him. Comment.
GV has come out with six very fresh songs. He has also travelled musically for each segment of the background score. For me it was new, maybe maestro Ilayaraja sir would have done it in the past.
My cinematographer Velraj has captured Madurai in a way it has never been seen before. Most of the film happens at night, he has convincingly shot this and shown it very close to reality.
Your future plans.
I have signed a film with the Cloud Nine banner. The movie is titled Vada Chennai (North Chennai). Once again I’m coming back to the home front!
Has Simbhu been approached for the lead role?
I am talking to three heroes. Nothing has been finalised. We will start work as soon as Aadukalam is eleased.