How did Ranjith come into the film as a producer?
Mari sir is an associate of Katradhu Thamizh Ram. Ranjith sir also knows Mari sir through his literary works in Vikadan. Mari sir had told the story to Ranjith sir and he had liked it and came forward to produce it.
The trailer and teaser of PP suggest it is going to be an intense drama. Can you tell us about the film? What can one expect from it?
Pariyerum Perumal will have all the elements that a mainstream audience expects in a film, like humor, action, romance, sentiment and emotion. Besides that, there will be intense elements with a social theme. I see that as the film's specialty. Depending on the response to the film from the audience, I have plans for my future. I also firmly believe that the audience would receive PP with open arms. If the film is not received well, I do not know what kind of films I should do. As an audience, when I saw the film, I felt that it has all the aspects that viewers seek in a film. It is not preachy and at the same time, there is a social message in it. When there is a strong content embedded in a commercial cinema, there is hope that the film will be successful.
You play the character of Pariyerum Perumal. To what an extent, you identify with him?
There is no connection between Kathir and Pariyerum Perumal. I had never been to Tirunelveli in my life. I was seeing the place for the first time, when I went for the shooting. I do not even know its landscape. But, when I read the story, there was depth in the character which I was sure would be loved by all. Why I am saying with a lot of pride that I went in search of Pariyerum Perumal is that it is very difficult to get good scripts and good characters. In addition to this, it is also rare that an artist gets to play such a character early on. Only when there is a scope for performance, an artist can prove himself. What else an actor needs when there is a confident director like Mari Selvaraj sir, a producer like Ranjith sir and a music composer like Santhosh Narayanan sir? This is a film that has all these pluses packed into one. There is a lot of positivity surrounding the release of this film and I am very happy about it.
Mari Selvaraj is a debut director. How was it working with him?
He is an extremely confident director. The story is based on a true incident. He knew what exactly happened in there and how the characters reacted in that situation. So he had lots of inputs to share. For every scene, we had almost an hour of discussion. We have attempted to bring to the fore the threshold of a person. I had even thought of going back to my town after completing this film as there was so much of physical and mental stress involved. We had shot for a long period, be it the songs or montages or running shots. It sometimes involved just a running shot of two and a half hours per day. There was no break in the running shot. I am not sure if I can put in the same hard work of my body or the strain associated with my performance in any other film in my life. I have total confidence that Pariyerum Perumal will be accepted by the audience with a lot of love.
For a question on who is Pariyerum Perumal in the trailer, the response is, "En kooda padikkaraannu sonnen illa, oru naayi, avan dhaan adhu". Is it a dig on theism?
No, it is not, the film is not prescribing atheism. When you see the film, you will understand its context. There is no connection of God in it; the name of the character is Pariyerum Perumal, that's about it. In the southern districts, you will find many individuals with that name.
Yogi Babu is in a different league now. How was it to shoot with him?
I have worked with Yogi anna in Kirumi itself. His counters and humor are natural, catchy and interesting. These, I consider as his pluses. However, in Pariyerum Perumal, in the second half, he has scored very well in the emotional scenes.
What did Ranjith tell you after seeing the film?
It was important for me to satisfy Ranjith sir's expectations. Both Ram sir and Ranjith sir appreciated my work. Ram sir also said that after the release of the film, I will be slotted as a hero with good commercial value. He also reiterated this in the press meet. This gave me a lot of confidence.
Mani Ratnam's Chekka Chivandha Vaanam is also releasing this week. So what is the strategy behind releasing Pariyerum Perumal in the same week?
Firstly, we have confidence on the film and its content. Secondly we are sure that the audience would accept and connect with it. That said, we also need to think practically. Every week, there is a big film releasing and we have to release the film in some week. And these days the shelf life of a film is just a week only. It is not like competing with CCV. We trust that there would be a good response to our film.
Santhosh Narayanan's music appears to be one of the USPs of the film. What is your take?
Santhosh Narayanan is the biggest strength of this film music wise. When I first saw the visuals along with his music, it was amazing. Santhosh sir had created a lot of positivity around the film. He had liked it a lot and has delivered a soulful music which has elevated Pariyerum Perumal to several notches higher.
We all know that Pa Ranjith is a crusader of Dalits. Would PP be a film on his ideology?
The film is a voice for equality. For those who see it as a film, it will come across as a film with a story. It will also satisfy those who wish to see layers and discuss about it. It is not a preachy film but will seem the way you see it. Pariyerum Perumal will be something that would be acceptable to everyone.
When can we see Sigai?
Sigai is most likely to release October end or November beginning.