Thaanaa Serndha Koottam is not a scene-by-scene remake of Special 26: Director Vignesh Shivan
Suriya's meticulous efforts to bring perfection on screen is second to none, says director of his upcoming film Thaanaa Serndha Koottam.
A few minutes with director Vignesh Shivan is what you need to be cheerfully optimistic and full of hope. He can put you in good spirits in a brief conversation. He is always disposed to look on the bright side and is genuinely sanguine about the prospects he takes charge of.
Enter Knack Studios, the swanky, state-of-the-art recently-launched post-production facility in Chennai. Vignesh Shivan is rushing off his feet from one room to the other, managing multiple tasks from discussing a background score cue with Anirudh to correcting the modulation of a dubbing artist in the studio. He is currently busy with the final stages of the post-production work of Suriya's Thaanaa Serndha Koottam.
“This is my first interview in a long time,” he said, guiding me to the nearby room for an exclusive chat with Firstpost.
Asked about the backstory of how he signed Thaanaa Serndha Koottam, Vignesh Shivan said, “After Naanum Rowdy Thaan I was supposed to do Kaathu Vaakkula Rendu Kadhal with Vijay Sethupathi. But due to some date issues he had to sign Kavan at that time. Meanwhile, Gnanavel Raja sir wanted to do a project, and it had a very short deadline to meet. He is the one who set up this project and made me meet Suriya sir. He is the main pillar behind TSK. Although I would have loved to write an original story, we went ahead with adapting Special 26 due to the time constraints.”
Is Thaanaa Serdha Koottam an official remake of Special 26? Vignesh Shivan patiently answered the million dollar question: “It is neither a free make nor an official remake. We have acquired the remake rights legally. When we remake a film, I don't think I can own the original. That's why I wanted to adapt Special 26 in my way. I can't waste an opportunity to work with a top star like Suriya under a big banner. Also, I can't do a scene-by-scene remake. I have taken the real incident behind Special 26 and presented the film in my way. As you obviously know, there's no space for a song like 'Sodakku Mela Sodakku Poduven' in Special 26.”
Does the inclusion of a song like Sodakku mean that Vignesh has adapted Special 26 to meet the Tamil sensibilities? Pat comes the reply, “I don’t believe in restyling a script solely to meet the commercial demands or sensibilities of a particular locale. I can't force a romance portion in Thaanaa Serndha Koottam just because the romance sequences of my previous film (Naanum Rowdy Thaan) clicked well. All that I need is to make a movie that is entertaining, and that's the ultimatum. But I can't or won't compromise myself to commercialise a project with pre-meditated elements like romance, message or anything as such.”
Vignesh says he will always cherish working with Suriya, adding that he’s an incredibly talented director’s actor. “Suriya sir has that quench to try different roles, and he is known for the way he applies himself to a character. He takes it completely upon himself and pays utmost attention to the smallest details like costumes. His meticulous efforts to bring perfection on screen is second to none,” said Vignesh.
Vignesh Shivan is known for his uncanny ability to cast senior actors in never-before-seen characters. Thaanaa Serndha Koottam also marks the comeback of veteran actors like Senthil, Suresh Chandra Menon and Sudhakar in crucial supporting roles. “Senthil sir is not doing a typical comedian role but a significant character. I always want to try such new characters for our favourite actors. Apart from that, it feels good to see the positivity on their faces, being in sets after a gap. I don't intend to say that they are not offered roles, but it makes them happy. They feel elated by the treatment in sets again. That's what Vijay Sethupathi did to me. After Poda Podi, when I took a year-long break, he called me and asked why I have been idle for so long, and then we met, and Naanum Rowdy Thaan happened. I know how it feels to be back in the sets. ”
Vignesh Shivan is also one of the few directors who actively answer queries from fans on Twitter whenever they raise constructive questions. However, he observes that social media has become a cesspool of negativity and stresses the importance of being positive through his tweets. “I can't figure out what brought this change, but it is so adverse. A platform that enabled people to tell the world their opinion is now a mere gloom-ridden tool. Everything is now narrowed down to a meme - a tragic news, a movie review, an opinion on individual and what not. What happened to NEET and Anitha's issue after a week? People moved on to something of less or no significance without finding a proper solution. Be it a fan war or individual attacks; some people can't deal it without cuss words. That's why I mention ‘Stay Positive’ in every tweet of mine for safety reasons.”
Starring Keerthy Suresh as the lead heroine, Thaanaa Serndha Koottam also features Ramya Krishnan, RJ Balaji, Nandha and Kalaiarasan in important roles. Anirudh Ravichander has composed the music for the film, which is gearing up for a grand Pongal 2018 release in both Tamil and Telugu.
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