Kaaviya Thalaivan: Vasanthabalan's periodic film gets Rahman's musical boost

Kaaviya Thalaivan is a period drama set in Madurai of 1930’s and 1940’s with seven original tracks from A R Rahman.

Sreedhar Pillai November 28, 2014 16:12:08 IST
Kaaviya Thalaivan: Vasanthabalan's periodic film gets Rahman's musical boost

Today, one of the most talked about Tamil film Kaaviya Thalaivan is releasing worldwide. The film directed by Vasanthabalan has Siddharth, Prithviraj, Vedhika and Nassar with music by AR Rahman. Vasanthabalan is one of the most promising young directors in Tamil cinema, known for his critically acclaimed films like Veyil and Angadi Theru.

Kaaviya Thalaivan is a period drama set in Madurai of 1930’s and 1940’s. The story is set against the milieu of old Tamil drama schools and the life of stage artistes and singers of that period. It is important to note here that origins of Tamil cinema lie in the theatre and plays of early 20th century.

Kaaviya Thalaivan Vasanthabalans periodic film gets Rahmans musical boost

A still from Kaaviya Thalaivan. In the photo (from left) Siddharth, Nassar and Prithviraj.

The basic thread of the film is inspired by the love story of singer and stage artists KP Sundarambal and S Kitappa. And the human drama that unfolds is about love, friendship that soon turns into jealousy and hate. Siddharth plays the hero and Prithviraj is the antagonist, Vedhika plays stage artist and singer while Nassar heads the troupe and mentors them.

AR Rahman researched extensively for the film's music. The Oscar winning music director underwent six months of research to relate it with the era. The soundtrack has seven original songs and fourteen bit songs that form the score of the film. Rahman's genius has struck gold again and the maestro has come out with an album that is rich with folk music of early theatre in Tamil. It is safe to say that in the past three decade this is the first genuine musical to come out of Kollywood.

In early days of cinema, most Tamil films were musicals. So in many ways, Kaaviya Thalaivan is a return to its roots. Rahman at the audio launch said: "I wanted to relive the forgotten era of Tamil cinema."

Kaaviya Thalaivan has been in the making for the last two years and it costed around Rs 20 crore for producer Sashikanth. Sasi says the film took him nearly two years and 80 days to shoot and 8 months of post-production work. All the sets were created by ace cinematographer Nirav Shah. Shah made the set look authentic on screen with his lighting.

Vasanthabalan in an interview said: "I wanted to present something new. So I tried reviving the old trend of having many songs, as script demanded a musical as it was based in the 1940s when even dialogues in movies were delivered through songs. Well-known writer Jayamohan has written the dialogues. It was Jayamohan who first sowed the thoughts in my mind of delving into the theatre life of the early part of the last century, from where Tamil cinema evolved."

Siddharth who plays the hero says the role suited him as he has also come from a stage background. In an interview Siddharth said: "I'm a big fan of old mythological films like Sivaji Ganesan’s Saraswathi Sabadam and others. I’m also fascinated by Tamil history and how stage played an important role in the Dravidian movement.”

Siddharth says the film is based on the life and times of early Tamil theatre and AR Rahman’s music has only enriched it. He has crooned for a song in the album.

The actor has made a sensational comeback to Tamil cinema with Karthik Subbaraj’s critically acclaimed Jigarthanda. Now a lot is riding on Kaaviya Thalaivan for Siddharth and rest of the team. Will the film work at the Tamil box-office which only acknowledges mass masala star films?

Siddharth concludes by saying: "If you want to experience something different from the run of the mill, Kaaviya Thalaivan will be unique. I admire the guts of producer Sashikanth and director Vasanthabalan for taking the road less travelled but still coming out with a film that will be talked about for a long time to come."

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