NOTA director Anand Shankar on Vijay Deverakonda: 'Directing him is a delight; he's an effortless actor'

Surendhar MK

Oct,08 2018 18:19:59 IST

After delivering consecutive hits in Atharvaa's Arima Nambi and Chiyaan Vikram's Irumugan, director Anand Shankar is upbeat about his recent release NOTAstarring Vijay Deverakonda in the lead role. In this exclusive conversation with FirstPost, Anand Shankar talks about collaborating with an intense performer like Vijay Deverakonda, working on diverse genres in his first three projects, and co-writing a script with Shan Karuppasamy for NOTA. 

"Yes, I want to experiment with different genres. I think this is a phase where I must explore things. Fortunately, both my previous films did earn a substantial profit for my producers. I always wished to make a drama with strong characters. Also, it's been long since a proper political satire was written and I thought this is the correct time. Only when I try different genres, I can feel the audience's pulse and execute well. The making of an action film focuses mostly on the pace and the grandeur but helming a drama is quite a different experience since we deal with the performances and emotions," explains Anand Shankar.

Vijay Devarakonda in a still from NOTA. YouTube

Vijay Devarakonda in a still from NOTA. YouTube

NOTA, which is bankrolled by Studio Green, is adapted from the Tamil novel Vettattam, penned by Shan Karuppasamy. "I have written some scripts after Irumugan, but I craved for some content without the mundane hero-villain chases. With a fresh crew on board, the ideas and thought processes will be new, and it reflects in the film made. I was developing a line when I came across Shan Karuppasamy's Vettattam. When I decided to adapt it into a movie and bought the rights, I already decided to use him as the co-writer. I felt his insights and facts could add more authenticity to the film," said Anand.

Asked about the sudden surge of under-production political films in K'town, Anand said, "The acceptance levels of audiences these days have broadened, and they consider movies as sheer entertainment. Sometime back, a slew of horror films released. Then eventually it changed. Filmmakers evolve with the audiences' interests. The recent happenings in the political arena would have inspired the filmmakers, I think," he stated.

Anand says the characters in NOTA resemble the real-life politics. "As far as I gather from the reviews, Vijay Deverakonda's portrayal in the film as a CM has not attracted any negative comments. NOTA neither has a flawless hero nor an evil villain. The audiences already have an image of Vijay, and this film is not trying to portray him as a sincere person. The film has grey characters just like the real-world politics. So there's hardly any glorification for the lead character in the movie. The audiences will get to know this once they watch the film," said Anand.

NOTA also marks the debut film of cinematographer Santhana Krishnan, the son of ace lensman Ravi K Chandran. "Ravichandran sir introduced me to Murugadoss sir after which I joined him as an assistant director. But cinematographer Santhana Krishnan never leaned on his father's fame or support to get a break. He assisted Ravi Varman sir for more than five years and then did Baaghi 2NOTA was mostly filmed in natural lighting to suit the realistic storyline. Santha and Sam CS's work in this film will be noteworthy," he said.

Controversies erupted in Telangana after the promo videos went viral on YouTube stating that the film could influence the upcoming elections in the state. "Just the film's premise and the title are enough to bring in different opinion. Once the audiences watch the movie, they will understand NOTA is not based on the current political situation. We have just used a few real incidents in the backdrop. Other than that, there's no reference to any particular region, party or person."

Heaping praise on Deverakonda, Anand said, "The comfort in working with performers is that they always give more than what a director expected. Directing Vijay Deverakonda is a real delight, his understanding of acting is unique, especially after working in only a few films. His intense acting skills and his looks are a deadly combination. He's an effortless actor and an effortless personality too. If things work out as expected, he is going to do big and stay forever."

Currently, Tamil cinema is in its best phase with a bevy of content-driven, highly acclaimed films like Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, Pariyerum Perumal, 96 and Ratsasan running in cinemas. "The slew of great films released in the past weeks will improve the movie-watching culture and footfalls in the theatres. We can't help the rush now because we had no options. This is the best phase for the moviegoers and movie makers alike. It'll be the survival of the fittest situation," said Anand on a concluding note.

Updated Date: Oct 08, 2018 18:19 PM