Naragasooran is a case study of civilised humans: Director Karthick Naren on his new film
At a time when seasoned directors in Tamil cinema routinely overshoot their deadlines when completing projects, one-film-old Karthick Naren has wrapped up his sophomore movie Naragasooran, a multi-starrer, in just 41 days.
"Initially, we had planned to complete the shooting within 37 days. But due to some location difficulties and other minor logistical issues, we extended it by four days. As soon as I finished the script, I narrated it to my assistants. They liked it and said it should be executed properly. We took nearly five to six months for pre-production and prepared rigorously before going on the floors. That's why we were able to pull off the project on time. It's entirely due to teamwork," said Karthick, who grabbed attention with his directorial debut Dhuruvangal 16.
Like Dhuruvangal 16, Naragasooran is also extensively shot in Ooty. "Although we have filmed in Ooty, we have not mentioned the location anywhere in the movie. The story is set in a fictional place. We wanted a mountain backdrop and a place which is completely isolated from urban areas. That's why we zeroed in on Ooty. And since I was born here, I also know the place relatively well," he said.
Although Karthick feels it's too early to divulge anything about the plot, he summed up the film in one line: "Naragasooran is a case-study about civilised humans. The audience will get to know the reason behind the title after watching the first 5-10 minutes."
With back-to-back thrillers, Karthick confessed that it's one of his favourite genres but added that he doesn't believe in categorising a film based on a single style. "Identifying a film based on a genre is only done for the sake of it. For example, Dhuruvangal 16 was called a suspense thriller. But, it's just an element in the story. There were other narrative angles too that formed the screenplay. Naragasooran is a very emotional film, but it also has a lot of other interesting elements. I wrote Naragasooran during the post-production of D16. It's like an extension of the D16 universe. If karma was the driving force in D16, it is 'faith' in Naragasooran. Faith will be the underlying emotion in the film," he explained.
Sci-fi films, which don't thrive on fantasy elements, and horror are the other two genres Karthick would sit down to watch as a film buff. "I have three favourite genres: thriller, sci-fi and horror. In sci-fi, I love Christopher Nolan's films because all his movies have a grounded human emotion that drives the story. His Inception was all about a man going after his wife."
Asked if he's contemplating any sci-fi film in the future, pat came the reply: "I have an idea. I'm working on an unadulterated sci-fi script, which is not completed yet. It's in the nascent stage."
When Karthick thought Arvind Swami would suit the role of Dhruva in the film, he shared the idea with Gautham Menon, who is bankrolling the project alongside Badri Kasturi of Shraddha Entertainment. "Gautham sir seconded my opinion and said he also feels that Arvind Swami will do justice to the character. When I went to narrate the script to Arvind Swami sir, I first told him that it's a multi-starrer, character-driven film. He immediately told me not to include anything for his sake and asked me to write the story in my way. He said he would come and fit in. That's when I realised I'm in the right company. After he listened to the script, he came on board," recalled Karthick.
Paired opposite Arvind Swami in the film is Shriya Saran, who was last seen in Simbu's AAA. "Shriya ma'am doesn't play a typical heroine. There's absolutely no glamour in the movie. I have always believed that she is a brilliant performer and I have tried to bring out that aspect of her in the film. We wanted someone who hasn't paired with Arvind Swami before... we needed a fresh couple."
Karthick has gotten rid of songs in Naragasooran since he felt the story didn't demand it. "I had complete creative freedom from the production side. They didn't request me to add anything to make the film 'commercially viable' or something. So, I stayed true to my story here like with D16."
Karthick decided to approach Sundeep Kishan for the role of Vinay after watching his compelling thriller Maanagaram. "I wanted someone who could match the bachelor to married man transition well. He should be mischievous and flirty, but at the same time as a newlywed, he should be responsible too. I loved Sundeep's performance in Maanagaram. That's why we approached him immediately."
A few months ago, Karthick took to his micro-blogging page and said that he's working on a thriller trilogy and Naragasooran is the second film in it. "The third script of the thriller trilogy is ready. But the hangover after you complete a project is incredible. It takes a toll on everything, including the way you speak. As of now, the third script is on track, but I'm taking one step at a time. I'm now waiting for Naragasooran to come out first to see audience's reception."
Also starring Aathmika of Meesaya Murukku fame and Malayalam actor Indrajith Sukumaran in the role of a police officer, Naragasooran has music composed by Ron Ethan Yohaan. The teaser of the film will be released on 25 November.