Master director Lokesh Kanagaraj opens up on the clash between Vijay and Vijay Sethupathi in his blockbuster
Lokesh Kanagaraj opens up on working with Vijay in Master, film's delay due to the coronavirus-shutdown and his upcoming release Vikram starring Kamal Haasan.
When actor Vijay had announced his new film with Lokesh Kanagaraj in 2019, it was a pleasant surprise for many movie buffs as one of the crowd pullers of Tamil cinema would be seen in a film directed by a young filmmaker, who has proved himself with two content-driven blockbusters Maanagaram and Kaithi without any typical commercial formulae.
"When I was in the post-production work of Kaithi, happened to know through a common friend named Sathish that Vijay sir has started listening to the scripts for his next. Later, spoke to his manager Jagadish who arranged the meet with Vijay sir. To be honest, I went there with a mindset that even if Vijay sir rejects my script, it would be a great moment in my career that I had narrated a script to a star of his stature. In fact, I wasn't ready with a full script so only told him the core plot for around twenty minutes. In the worst-case, it could end up as a photo opportunity for me so I just tried my luck. But to my surprise, got a call from his manager and everything started from that point", says Lokesh during a group interaction.
"As you all know, the film was supposed to hit the screens in April but the COVID19 pandemic pushed our release. It was a tough time for the entire crew but I also had the opportunity to get the best out of my composer Anirudh Ravichander. We also had a lot of time to work on the edit pattern. Vijay sir asked us to be patient and not to worry much about the delay. He kept saying that Master would only release in theatres and told our team to not lose hope. The day is here now", adds the director.
Being a filmmaker who has brought in a new flavour to the commercial entertainers, Lokesh says that Master would have the sensibilities of his directorial films and Vijay's films.
"You would see a different Vijay Anna in the film but at the same time, there are enough moments to please his fans. I also made sure to not place the typical punchlines and standalone songs in foreign locations. As I had worked with him, can confidently say that Vijay sir wishes to try something different so he gave a freehand to me on the sets. But his complete trust also made me responsible", he adds.
Talking about how Vijay Sethupathi came on board, Lokesh says "Though I know Sethu Anna, had my inhibitions to approach him as I was doubtful whether he would play a full-fledged evil villain. As a team, we were discussing a few names but Sethu-na somehow heard that I had him in mind while penning the particular character. He called me and asked me to come to his office for a narration. Again, I narrated him for around twenty minutes, he gave his nod. The complete trust of Vijay-na and Sethu-na made me even more responsible".
The Kaithi director says that the USP of Master would be the clash between Vijay and Sethupathi. "Ultimately, the biggest attraction in Master is the clash between the protagonist and the antagonist. Thankfully, both Vijay and Vijay Sethupathi have a mutual liking for each other so they allowed me to justify their characters. In a normal film, the hero would have an upper hand but in Master, I was clear from the beginning that both the characters should've equal scope. Though the film belongs to Vijay-na and Vijay Sethupathi-na, there are multiple characters and all of them are mandatory to move the story to the next step", he adds.
Lokesh is someone who often collaborates with writers. "I enjoy writing my films but don't mind getting help from the efficient writers if needed. For Master, I had only a few months to shoot so Pon Parthiban and Rathnakumar came on board".
The young filmmaker's growth is another big talking point in the industry, he directed two big stars Karthi and Vijay in his second and third films and all set to direct the veteran Kamal Haasan in his next. "It just happened but the trust these big names have on me makes me more responsible and humble. A lot of people ask me whether it was a huge pressure to direct big stars. Yes, I was a little scared on the sets of Master but in two days, Vijay sir relieved all the pressure and made me comfortable. Only because of such a positive atmosphere, we continuously worked together for nearly 129 days. From my experience, Karthi sir and Vijay sir didn't even ask me to change anything for the sake of it. They allowed me to execute the film in my style", says Lokesh.
Lokesh says that Maanaagaram was his identity for Kaithi, Master, and his upcoming biggie Vikram with Kamal Haasan. "Vijay sir, Karthi sir, and Kamal sir gave me the opportunity only after seeing Maanagaram. As you all know, Kaithi happened after Maanagaram. But Vijay sir and Kamal sir signed me even before the release of Kaithi so that's why I'm saying that Maanagaram is my identity.
Talking about his much-anticipated sci-fi film Irumbukai Maayavi, Lokesh says "It was supposed to be my second film but couldn't immediately commence the shoot as the story demands more time for pre-production due to several VFX shots. I still have confidence in that script. I also wish to make a full-fledged black comedy film someday"
Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro at ₹499 for the first year. Use code PRO499. Limited period offer. *T&C apply
Nenjam Marappathillai movie review: Selvaraghavan's sexual harassment film addresses everything else but
Nenjam Marappadhillai is a shallow, convenient sort of film, that can only excite those who are already entranced by the Selvaraghavan universe. For the rest of us, it is an exhausting mess.
Hero movie review: Rishab Shetty, Ganavi Laxman are gloriously over-the-top in a riot of comedy, action and romance
It's difficult to summarise the exact story of Hero; but when you leave the theatre, you feel like thanking the makers for giving you a hearty laugh, even if from behind a mask.
'Content will continue to exist, whether in halls or OTT,' says Rana Daggubati ahead of Haathi Mere Saathi release
"Cinema halls will always be the place for spectacle story experiences," said Rana Daggubati referring to his upcoming Haathi Mere Saathi