Director Rathna Kumar on Aadai: Want to bridge the gap between mainstream films, original web series
I chose to make Aadai because there is a need to tell this story now to the audiences. I’m sure if I delay making this film, someone would execute it as a web series,' says Rathna Kumar
In 2017, Rathna Kumar’s feel-good romantic comedy Meyaadha Maan clashed against Tamil superstar Vijay’s commercial biggie Mersal during the Diwali weekend. Despite the massive competition, Meyaadha Maan performed well at the box-office and also earned critical acclaim.
Rathna Kumar has now started shooting for his sophomore directorial Aadai, featuring Amala Paul in the lead. The first look poster was a cynosure of all eyes mainly because of the bold and daring look of Amala, who was covered in nothing byt tissue paper. The poster also conveyed that the actress is struggling to come out of a life-threatening situation.
“Designing the first look poster of Aadai was like walking on a tightrope. We were aware of the fact that even a minor slip would spoil our intention. My only aim is that the first look should not end up as a wine shop poster and I also want to subtly convey the storyline. Now, audiences only see the gory mood in the poster and the struggle of Amala, it doesn’t look vulgar. Today, a lot of film posters are designed only to grab the attention of viewers and often it misleads them but after watching the film, you will get to know the minute details in first look," says Rathna Kumar.
“Even during the photo shoot, neither Amala nor my crew felt awkward because we all know that the script demands the bold look. Everyone in the team was happy with the way audiences received the first look on the social media," he adds.
“After the success of Meyadhaa Maan, producers and directors approached me to come up with comedy entertainers. Though I’m penning another script for a big hero which is a coming-of-age love story with action elements, the shoot will only commence next year. In the meantime, I developed the rough draft of Aadai, the recent happenings in the social media and society are my co-writers," laughs the director who conceived the basic idea of Aadai even before Meyadhaa Maan.
“Although the script was ready, I made up my mind that the film should go on floors only after getting a sensible producer and an understanding female lead. I actually sent the synopsis of Aadai without revealing my name to Amala through the producer. Excited, Amala invited me to her Delhi residence and only then, I narrated the full story to her. Throughout the session, Amala didn’t express much so I wasn’t sure whether she liked the script or not. Later, she asked a few questions and all those were sensible inhibitions including the psychological behavior of her character. Once I cleared her doubts and enlightened the intention of the script, she came on board," adds Rathna who asked Amala to watch Meyaadha Maan and only after the special screening, she acknowledged the technical skills of the director.
Rathna Kumar also says that he is anticipating an ‘A’ certificate from the censor board. “I’m sure that our censor board would only give ‘A’ certificate to Aadai because the content justifies the adults-only certificate in their rulebook. But, for me, the maturity can’t be determined by age. I know twelve-year kids are highly matured now but there are a few 60-year-old people whose maturity level is very low. Despite having another big film, I chose to make Aadai because there is a need to tell this story now to the audiences. I’m sure if I delay making this film, someone would execute it as a web series," says Rathna.
“I’m not confident about the satellite rights revenue of Aadai but will take the necessary steps to stream the film on platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. I want to bridge the gap between mainstream cinema and bold web series with Aadai," exclaims the director.
Besides Amala Paul, Vivek Prasanna who played as Vaibhav’s friend in Meyadhaa Maan will also play a pivotal role in Aadai along with a bunch of newcomers. The first schedule of the film has been progressing at a brisk pace in Chennai and surrounding locales.
“I'm planning to deliver the first copy of Aadai in December. The film will have a theatrical release in 2019. Thanks to the tremendous reach of our first look poster, Hindi and other language distribution rights will be locked very soon. Interestingly, I started writing the script of Aadai as a Tamil-Hindi bilingual and also searched for a pan-Indian face to play the lead role. But later, I thought that the script’s backdrop is rooted in Tamil Nadu so why spoil the core essence for the sake of bilingual?,” asks Rathna.
Talking about Amala’s character in the film, the director says, “Every actor has a flamboyant and freestyle performance inside them which they showcase only in real life and not on the big screen. I asked Amala to be herself for the film and react according to the situation. Though a debatable issue is being handled in the film, Aadai will also be an engaging entertainer," concludes the director.
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He added, "We are scheduled to shoot this year and I hope it is received with the same zeal, enthusiasm and acclaim as the first one."
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