Udhayanidhi Stalin on Podhuvaaga Emmanasu Thangam, working with Priyadarshan, his production ventures and more
Calm, composed, prompt and courteous - Udhayanidhi Stalin comes across as a man of sheer humble demeanour for someone hailing from a powerhouse family. In a quick tete-a-tete with MovieCrow, the actor-producer gives us a glimpse into some of his films so far with a special mention about his upcoming release Podhuvaaga Emmanasu Thangam.
Your film Podhuvaaga Emmanasu Thangam is with a debut director. How do you go about deciding to work with new talent?
The script has to impress me. After Manithan, cameraman Balasubramaniem recommended that I hear the script of Thalapathy Prabhu, who was earlier an associate of director Ponram. I decided to go with the film post the script-narration. Since this is the first time I am working for an outside banner (Sri Thenandal Films), we gave them two stories and they chose Podhuvaaga Emmanasu Thangam.
Tell us something about the film..
I have never played a rural character before. So that would be another first. The story is set in a village backdrop and my co-star Soori plays a character by the name Tiger Paandi, which is tailor-made for him. Parthiepan sir plays a negative role and since Nivetha Pethuraj is from Madurai, she fit the heroine bill aptly.
In the film, there is one photoshoot scene featuring Mayilsaamy and Soori which O believe will surely leave the audience in splits.
Chronologically, your films have had comedy as a strong element. Is that conscious?
Not at all. I've done Gethu which was a non-comedy film and Manithan which was a serious film. Though the films had Karunakaran and Vivek sir (respectively), they were there for the slight relief and not for pure comic acts. In a film like Podhuvaaga Emmanasu Thangam where the story is set in a rural backdrop, comedy becomes inevitable.
You've been in the acting business for a while now. How do you handle criticism and negative reviews?
I do not pay much heed to it.
When you started off as a producer, you had given some big films with Vijay, Suriya and Kamal. Has your production ventures taken a back seat because of your focus-shift towards acting?
When I started off as a producer about 8 years back, cinema was different. Right from an actor's salary to the kind of business a movie did, the dynamics have changed a lot. For instance, Manithan was critically acclaimed but the film's revenue was less where as a film like Saravanan Irukka Bayamean, made income with a profit. But I am open to investing in a big movie..will make it happen soon.
Are you open to doing multi-starrers?
Of-course I am. Infact I was supposed to star alongside Vishnu Vishal under Suseenthiran's direction. But the film was dropped due to various reasons. Currently, I am in the process of assembling a team and if all goes well, my next production will be a multi-starrer.
You are working with director Priyadarshan in the Tamil remake of Maheshinte Prathikaaram. Tell us about the experience.
It very tough to adapt the role of a National award winning film and reprise it. Fahad (Faasil) has really set the bar high. But the only reason I accepted to do the film was the director, Priyadarshan. He is a legend and I feel I'm in good hands.
The tussle between TFPC and FEFSI is not showing any signs of a die-down. As a producer what is your take on it?
It is very unfortunate because even my film's shoot had to be cancelled because of this. We had to return from Tenkasi and it is definitely a bigger loss to the producer than it is to me or to the director Priyadarshan. Without pin-pointing anyone, all I hope is that the issues are resolved and an amicable solution is obtained.
Podhuvaaga Emmanasu Thangam is releasing this weekend. Anything you'd like tell the audience?
Podhuvaaga Emmanasu Thangam is a comic family entertainer with a social message. From the story, to costumes and songs - everything you await would be a lot different from my earlier films.