Vikram Prabhu, Aishwarya, Shanthanu, Madonna, Sarathkumar, and Radhika talk about Vaanam Kottattum
Rarely do we see a Tamil film with an ensemble of actors. Mani Ratnam delivered a blockbuster in 2018 with Chekka Chivantha Vaanam by bringing together actors like STR, Arvind Swamy, Vijay Sethupathi, Aishwarya Rajesh, Jyothika, and Prakash Raj. His upcoming magnum opus Ponniyin Selvan also has a long list of actors. Interestingly, the maverick filmmaker’s production venture Vaanam Kottattum is also a multi-starrer. Firstpost spoke to all of them to know their experience in working with the film. Directed by Mani Ratnam’s associate Dhana, the Nayakan filmmaker has also jointly written the film.
“Mani sir first appreciated me for my performance in Thuppakki Munai written and directed by his associate Dinesh. Even before Vaanam Kottattum, I was signed by Madras Talkies for Ponniyin Selvan. Later through Dinesh, I met Dhana who narrated this script. I fell in love with the story, because it connects the gap between two generations. You would find the difference between how today’s youngsters and their parents approach an issue in the film”, said Vikram Prabhu.
“The ensemble of actors helped the film. When you have powerful performers like Radhika, Sarathkumar sir and Aishwarya Rajesh standing opposite, they send out energy and as an actor, I have to reciprocate it in my style. Though each actor’s energy is different, our director Dhana was very clear and only extracted what he wanted from us”, added Vikram Prabhu.
On working with Mani Ratnam in Ponniyin Selvan, Vikram said: “He is a man of few words. Mani sir only visited the sets of Vaanam Kottattum once and he only spoke a few words. On the sets of Ponniyin Selvan, he explains the mood of the scene and our character, it’s our duty to perform. He will not be satisfied until our performance fulfills his requirements. Mani sir is working hard to delivering an entertaining version of the novel written by Kalki”.
Talking about his character in the film, Vikram said: “I play Selva who is the confident and self-dependent guy. Throughout the film, audiences would relate with him and want to know whether he succeeds or not”.
Aishwarya Rajesh, who plays Vikram Prabhu’s sister in the film, said: “I only see my character and the overall script of the film. In Kaaka Muttai, I played a mother and now, in this film, I’m playing Vikram’s sister. Earlier, I played Sivakarthikeyan’s sister in Namma Veettu Pillai. I don’t have any inhibition to play sister to leading stars because the legendary actress Savitri and our own Radhika mam have done it in the past. Even in Bollywood and Hollywood, actors only pick good characters. Now, after seeing the success of films in which I played as sister and mom, a lot of young actresses are picking up such roles. Recently, Manjima messaged me saying she has agreed to play Vijay Sethupathi’s sister in a film and credited me as an inspiration, I'm glad to be an inspiration”.
Talking about the difference between Namma Veettu Pillai and Vaanam Kottattum, Aishwarya said: “I signed Vaanam Kottattum before Namma Veettu Pillai. The major difference in Vaanam Kottattum is it talks about the relationship of today’s siblings, how jovially sisters roam around their brothers and vice versa. My relationship with Vikram in the film is more or less the same as how I talk to my real-life brother”.
For Aishwarya, this is the second association with Mani Ratnam after Chekka Chivantha Vaanam. “Working with Mani sir is every actor’s dream. Glad that it happened twice for me. For those who don’t know, besides producing the film, Mani sir has also jointly written the script of Vaanam Kottattum”.
Shanthanu plays Aishwarya Rajesh’s pair in the film. “Working with Mani sir will be in the bucket list of all the actors. Though I’m yet to work under his direction, glad that I’m associating with his Madras Talkies in Vaanam Kottattum. I would say that my role is an extended cameo but if you take him out of the script, the whole film would not be full-filled. As a struggling actor, now I understood that only good characters, stories, and production house will get us the much-needed reach”.
Shanthanu also playing an important role in Vijay’s Master. “I play a very important role in Master but being a Vijay fan myself, I also only go to theaters to watch him on the big screen. Just like Vaanam Kottattum, my character in Master will stay in the minds of the audiences and if you remove him from the film, the script wouldn’t progress. Thanks to Lokesh Kanagaraj who offered me the role”, said Shanthanu.
Madonna who plays Vikram’s pair in the film said: “I play a character who never struggled in her life but slowly things begin to change and how she adapts to tough situations impressed me a lot. Glad that I’m now associated with Mani Ratnam sir’s Madras Talkies. I pick scripts based on whether I’m in sync with sensibilities of the director, it happened for me in Vaanam Kottattum”.
Real-life couple Radhika and Sarathkumar are acting together after two decades in Vaanam Kottatum. “I took a break from films for a few years but Dhana’s story was impressive. The film got the flavor of our soil. I would say Vaanam Kottattum is a family entertainer and how each member approach success and failures in life. All of us understood the importance of our characters and performed, there wasn’t any competition. I have been in the industry for a long time but only through this film, I’m associating with Mani Ratnam. Of course, my next is also with him”, said Sarathkumar who also plays an important role in Ponniyin Selvan.
“Before Dhana, a lot of filmmakers approached both Sarath and I to play husband and wife in their films but none of the stories were impressive. We loved Dhana’s writing and immediately agreed to play our respective characters in Vaanam Kottattum. Generally, I don’t act after six in the evening and never acted on Sundays but this film has become an exception. I liked Dhana’s working style, he only shoots necessary scenes and don’t waste anyone’s time”, said Radhika.
Vaanam Kottattum is releasing in theaters on Friday.
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Updated Date: Feb 07, 2020 11:48:57 IST