Director Vivek opens up about Athiran, and working with Fahadh Faasil, Sai Pallavi in his debut film

Surendhar MK

May 05, 2019 13:21:59 IST

Director Vivek, who has made his debut with the Malayalam psychological thriller Athiran, talks about the film, Fahadh Faasil's untamed performance and Sai Pallavi's method acting skill in this exclusive chat with Firstpost.

Before making his directorial debut, Vivek worked with MTV, Walt Disney and eventually established a firm called Global United Media, which went on to become a popular distribution-production house with hits such as Baahubali 1 & 2, The Jungle Book, Mersal, and KGF to name a few.

"I left Global United Media after Vijay's Mersal. Later, I stepped out to pursue my filmmaking dream. During this process, I went to Fahadh Faasil. I had no prior knowledge or experience of meeting him. We were talking about cinema generally.. Then, Fahadh asked if I have any script. He saw my body of work. I came up with a story and plotline, and Fahadh gave his inputs on how to approach the film. That's how Athiran happened," Vivek told Firstpost.

Director Vivek opens up about Athiran, and working with Fahadh Faasil, Sai Pallavi in his debut film

Fahadh Faasil with director Vivek and cinematographer Anu Moothedath. Image from Facebook

About roping in Sai Pallavi for the film, Vivek said, "We wanted to cast someone who is known but not well-known. So, we zeroed in on Sai Pallavi since she took a break from the Malayalam industry for two years. I narrated the entire film scene by scene, and she came on board."

Athiran also marks the composing debut of Ghibran in Mollywood. "When we were shooting in Ooty, I got in touch with Ghibran because I was a huge fan of his work. But, Ghibran said he wanted to make his Malayalam debut in a film which has a proper album and songs. Later, I approached him again and asked him to watch the movie first and then decide. After he watched the rough cut, he fell in love with it and gladly agreed to score the music. He was very kind," Vivek revealed.

Explaining the acting process of Fahadh and how gets into a role, Vivek said, "Fahadh is someone who surprises at each level of the filmmaking process. He works in a very organic manner with you about where he sees the character and where can the graph of the character and the story go. If there's a plotline, he will think about how can he fit in, where does he fit in and how could he better the story. He doesn't like sitting with the writer-director and discuss the scene or plot structure. He considers and looks at only his character. Where does his role stand? Why should he do this film? These are the only questions he would want answers for."

Vivek continued to gush about Fahadh's performance and his guts to experiment as an actor and support a first-time filmmaker. "As a writer or director, everyone has a graph defined for any particular character. With Fahadh, there's always something fresh he offers; something niche that takes the scene to a different level. He's such a caliber-oriented actor with a lot of positive vibes."

Was there any pressure to handle the first film with a stellar star cast? "Fahadh had three hits in a row. Pallavi was making a comeback after two years. Athiran was Century Films' 40th year and 125th project. So, there was a lot of responsibility on me. I was the only amateur individual. But, the best part was Fahadh was someone who gives me the liberty and Pallavi was someone who understood that I'm a newcomer. I was trying to do something experimental, and they were also game," Vivek said.

He adds, "Pallavi does so much in terms of her method acting space. She does a lot of homework and understands the nuances of character and performs. You have to keep feeding her with elements. Then, she beautifully gets into the skin of the character and performs. Pallavi is a director's delight. She delivers exactly what you want."

There have been a lot of comparisons between Hollywood film Shutter Island and Athiran on Twitter and Facebook. Addressing it on a concluding note, Vivek said, "All those individuals who compared Shutter Island and Athiran have written back to me saying they were wrong. The confusion stemmed from the genre I was dealing with in my film. There are so many short stories written by Edgar Allan Poe and my film is also based on one. Shutter Island was also based on a book. My film has even more resemblance with filmmakers that I grew up watching like Priyadarshan, Kamal, Jayaraj and Sibi Malayil. They are my inspirations and references for my film in terms of imagery and framing."

Updated Date: May 05, 2019 14:10:42 IST

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