Arumuga Kumar's directorial venture Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren is due to hit theatre screens on February 2, 2018 and ahead of the Vijay Sethpathy, Gautham Karthik, Gayathrie, Niharika Konidela starrer's release, we caught up with the director to know more about his debut project. Excerpts from an exclusive tête-à-tête can be found below :
How did ONNPS happen?
Vijay Sethupathi and I have been friends for a long time now and when I completed my first script and told him that I wanted Gautham Karthik, he was the one who scheduled a meeting with Gautham and made it happen for me. For Vijay Sethupathy's role I did not have anyone in mind but had thought of him doing it did cross my mind. However, he was busy and did not have any dates to spare. When he read the character and saw that it was pivotal, he said he'd do it.
What is so special about Yeman - the tribal character Vijay Sethupathy plays?
First of all I'd like to say that Vijay Sethupathy's character does not represent Palankudiyinars (people belonging to the tribal caste). During my first interview about the movie, the word was translated into English as "tribal people" and was carried on like that further on. Yeman is a forest-dweller from Andhra Pradesh in the movie.
Coming to your question, once Vijay Sethupathi came on board for this character, we included a lot of quirky elements to enhance the appeal of Yeman. From his moustache to his language to his clothes, everything was worked upon.
Not only Vijay Sethupathy, the film too seems to come with a lot of quirks. As a debutant, how comfortable were you in dealing with an off-beat subject?
For me, the risk factor was in doing the research and the ground work because you have to be able to present your sensibility using what you found and that is a little tricky. Other than that, I have just made a dark comedy film with an new attempt at presenting it.
Gautham Karthik, your other hero does not enjoy the star status Vijay Sethupathy does. Did you ever think his casting could add to the risk value?
I understand what you are trying to ask and I am aware of the comparisons that are bound to arise between the two. But I have 100 % trust in Gautham Karthik. Having worked with him in ONNPS, I can assure you that he will be a safe-bet hero in 2018. He has that potential and one of the most mention-worthy qualities of him is that he is very good at finishing a movie. He gives absolutely no trouble and is very good at a director's hand.
Your film is two days away from release and news of Amazon Prime buying the streaming rights has already made headlines. What do you have to say to people who feel that this might decrease the theatre footfalls?
For Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren, we have agreed on making streaming services available post 45 days of the movie's release. And I think the theatre crowd occupancy for any film does not exceed 30-40 days. We live in a digital world; we have to accept that and keep up with the happening trends. Besides, audience these days understand that the ambience,energy and experience you get in theatres is way different from streaming a film online.
The director who aims to both produce and direct in the future signs off by giving three reasons to watch Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren in theatre halls. He says,"ONNPS is completely a message-free film. We have not tried to deliberately preach anything. It is a fun-film with a hidden trick behind its sound and film-making. And lastly, ONNPS is made with the aim of taking the viewer to a different world. I hope my attempt works with the audience."