Vetrimaaran on Asuran, his relationship with Dhanush, Vada Chennai 2, and upcoming film with Soori
Vetrimaaran said: “Very soon, you will get an announcement on Vada Chennai 2. Regarding Rajan Vagaiyara, I have the idea in the back of my mind but should convert it into a screenplay.'
Vetrimaaran made his debut in the Tamil film industry as a mainstream filmmaker in 2007 with Polladhavan. In the last 12 years, he has only made five films but all were unanimously appreciated by the critics and also reaped good profits to the producers. Interestingly, his recent release, Asuran, is the quickest film he has ever made. “Dhanush had an agreement signed with my producer Thanu sir. They were in talks for a few projects before approaching me. When I suggested adapting the novel Vekkai to them, they were impressed and immediately agreed. Though I started it as a small budget film which was supposed to be completed in a short span, it became a huge film with the presence of Dhanush and the ensemble of actors,” said Vetrimaaran in an interview to Firstpost.
“I should thank my entire team because they took care of their respective departments. My cinematographer Velraj didn’t even disturb me for colour correction. I only narrated the situation to my composer GV Prakash. He would send me the songs and also completed the background score in a jiffy so because of them, I completed Asuran in such a short span,” answered the director on how Asuran ended as up becoming the quickest film in his career.
Generally, the director-hero combination would either be rejected by the audiences or they themselves would get separated due to creative differences but Vetrimaaran and Dhanush make sure to supersede their previous work each time. “Dhanush accepts my films because he likes my scripts. Similarly, I approach him because he has got the potential to justify the characters written by me. Yes, we have our own creative differences but that would not affect our film. In Asuran, I saw another side of Dhanush. The way he played the aged Siva Sami is incredible. It is easily one of the best roles,” said the filmmaker.
On his association with novel writers, Vetri said: "Right from my college days, I used to read a lot of novels. In fact, the novel-reading habit only helped me to join Balu Mahendra sir's team".
Vetrimaaran knows the Chennai Tamil dialect but to know the lifestyle and the language of people in Madurai, he stayed in the area for more than a year to pen the script of his National Award-winning film Aadukalam starring Dhanush. “But for Asuran, there was no need for me to do such research because Poomani’s Vekkai novel was an excellent source so I took care of the script work alone. To get perfection for the Tirunelveli and Kovilpatti Tamil dialect, I approached Balu Mahendra sir’s associate Suka and Pariyerum Perumal director Maari Selvaraj,” explained Vetrimaaran on how he achieved perfection in registering the lifestyle of people in South Tamil Nadu, a landscape which is quite alien to him.
“For me, Vekkai is nothing but a family drama. What really intrigued me is the landscape where the story actually happens. It was a fantastic experience in a location which was completely new to me,” he added.
On the difference between writing his own script and adapting a novel, Vetri said: "The filmmaking process remains the same. While adapting a novel, there is no need to spend too much time on research work because someone has already done that for you."
The director always prefers to work with his regular set of actors but in Asuran, he explored a new set of actors like Manju Warrier, Pasupathi, and Prakash Raj. “You would not believe, Manju Warrier quickly picked up the dialect compared to others on the sets. As she was born in Nagercoil, the Tirunelveli and Kovilapatti Tamil comes quite natural to her. I was in talks with Pasupathi and Prakash Raj for quite a long time but finally, things fell in place in Asuran. Both were thorough professionals. Besides these veterans, three young performers —Teejay, Ken and Abhirami surprised me with their fearless performances. All three will go places,” said Vetri.
The topic slowly moved to the certification process. “A lot of filmmakers expressed their disappointment with CBFC officials but to my films, they never demanded unnecessary cuts. Also, I actually screen my films with a lot of mutes and cuts because as a filmmaker, I know my responsibility".
Talking about Vada Chennai 2 and Rajan Vagaiyara (a web series based on Ameer’s gang from Vada Chennai), Vetrimaaran said: “Very soon, you will get an announcement on Vada Chennai 2. Regarding Rajan Vagaiyara, I have the idea in the back of my mind but should convert it into a screenplay."
Vetrimaaran is also directing an episode in a Netflix anthology along with Vignesh Shivan, Gautham Menon and Sudha Kongara. “Filmmakers and writers can fully utilise their potential in web series. They can write in detail and create something big. But the problem is right now, the budget is quite limited for regional anthologies and web series. Let’s see how things progress in the future."
The director also surprised everyone by announcing a film featuring comedy actor Soori in the lead. “Yes, the film is actually based on late poet Na Muthukumar’s poem. I though Soori’s innocence would suit the protagonist's role; he has also readily agreed,” signed off the filmmaker.
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