Nerkonda Paarvai director H Vinoth and actress Shraddha Srinath on working with Ajith, and remaking Pink
Nerkonda Paarvai director H Vinoth talks about whether he changed the sensibilities of Pink to sit the Tamil audience, and his upcoming Thala 60 with Ajith.
Thala Ajith's Nerkonda Paarvai, an official remake of Hindi blockbuster Pink, is all set to hit the screens worldwide on 8 August. Ajith's last outing, Viswasam, set the cash registers ringing at the box office when it locked horns with Superstar Rajinikanth-starrer Petta for the Pongal festival in January and emerged as the top-grossing Tamil film ever in the state.
Ahead of the release, Firstpost talks to director Vinoth, known for his super-hit credits, such as Sathuranga Vettai and Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru, and actress Shraddha Srinath, last seen in Tamil in mystery thriller K 13, about remaking Pink, and collaborating with Ajith for the first time.
"I had prepared a proper anti-hero script for Ajith sir after my first film Sathuranga Vettai. Then, I got an opportunity to meet him after the release of Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru. But he was not interested in doing any characters with negative shades at this point of time in his career. It was Ajith sir who selected Pink, and asked me if I could direct it because he trusted me as a good writer. It could be because he was good friends with the late Sridevi and wanted to do a socially responsible film for her production. Both Ajith sir and Boney Kapoor sir (producer and late Sridevi's husband) have watched the movie, and they are quite happy with the outcome," Vinoth tells Firstpost.
He further adds, "While it's relatively easy to remake a commercial film, creating a Tamil version for a powerful, message-oriented movie like Pink was extremely challenging. We should do full justice to the original script. I was very conscious about not tampering specific sequences and dialogues from the original version for the sake of altering it to suit the sensibilities of Tamil audiences."
Shraddha, a self-confessed fan of Ajith, says in a group interaction, "During the promotional interviews of my first Tamil project itself, I had confessed that I'm a great fan of Ajith sir. It's really a dream-come-true moment for me. First, I flew down to Chennai and gave an audition briefly. Then they called me again for the look test, and gave me an emotional scene to perform. A costume test followed it before they finalised me for the role. After I heard that it was for the Tamil version of Pink, I was quite surprised, and felt really happy too. The fact that a superstar like Ajith sir has accepted to act in a film like Nerkonda Paarvai is the kind of change the industry needs right now. It will be a turning point in my career."
Vinoth also agrees that a mass hero like Ajith accepting a remake like that of Pink is a refreshing change in Tamil cinema. "From the beginning, we were particular about adapting Pink as a film for all kinds of audiences since Ajith sir's movies cater to everyone. The real success of this film should be the kind of reach it receives, and it's imperative for Nerkonda Paarvai. That's also one of the reasons why the runtime of the Tamil version is 28 minutes more than the original (130 minutes). We have added Vidya Balan's character, and she appears for 10 minutes in the movie," he stated.
Although Vinoth was apprehensive about extracting the emotions of Pink in the Tamil version, he said Ajith was not worried about any other comparisons. "Ajith sir was never worried about the comparisons with Big B (Amitabh Bachchan, whose role Ajith reprises in Nerkonda Paarvai). In fact, Ajith sir reprised the cameo role played by Amitabh sir in the Tamil version of English Vinglish. He has played to his strengths effortlessly in Nerkonda Paarvai now. It will be a complete Ajith sir film, but it will also lead to progressive debates on women's rights after the release," says Vinoth.
Heaping praise on Ajith, Shraddha says, "Ajith sir is a great gentleman. He would make everyone comfortable on the sets. When he likes someone's work, he would pat on his back, and make his day. He has excellent control over the language, and he would be very helpful too for his co-actors. He's an amazing person, and it was a fantastic experience to share the screen space with him."
Interestingly, Shraddha has still not watched Pink, and she has her reasons to do the same. "I didn't watch Taapsee's (Pannu) Pink since I was not in the country when the film got released. When I finished audition for Nerkonda Paarvai, I thought it's good that I missed watching the original since I didn't want to get influenced by Taapsee's character. So, I decided not to watch it, and I have not seen until now. And, I don't think the maximum population in Tamil Nadu would have watched Pink. It would be a refreshing film for Ajith sir fans," says Shraddha, on a concluding note.
Produced by Boney, Nerkonda Paarvai also marks the onscreen debut of popular news editor Rangaraj Pandey, who reprises the role played by Piyush Mishra in the original. Yuvan Shankar Raja has composed the music for the project.
Vinoth also spilled the beans about his forthcoming project, Thala 60 with Ajith. "The pooja for the film will happen towards the end of this month. The principal shooting is expected to kickstart from September. We have not finalised anyone for the composer yet. We didn't even approach AR Rahman sir yet. It's all rumours," concludes Vinoth.
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