The Thyagarajan-starrer 'Malaiyur Mambattiyan', which was released in 1983, was a superhit that was remade in many languages and was immensely successful. The movie is being remade with Prashanth in the lead. Titled Mambattiyan, the film is being produced and directed by his father. Why did he decide to remake the film? “I couldn’t do certain things in the original, which I can now do through this remake. Prashanth will be seen in a different look and we’ve worked for 15 months on the film. We’ve used modern technology that was not available during the shooting of the original film. We’ve shot in deep forests. While only 50 to 100 police personnel were used in the original version, more than 5000 police personnel have been used in the remake and we’ve used helicopters for the chase sequence,” says the director and producer Thyagarajan. “The story is based on vengeance but we have altered it to suit the contemporary taste. It also shows how it’s difficult to find one who hides in the deep forest,” he adds.
Though Thyagarajan has worked with his son in a couple of films, this one is something special as the son dons the role of his father. “Perhaps this is the first time in the history that a son is acting in the role of his father and the father is directing the film. I would definitely want this film to be the best. I would say my film Malaiyur Mambattiyan was a deficient baby but this one is chubby, thanks to all the technology we’ve used. The original was poverty-stricken,” laughs Thyagarajan, who is strict on the sets and knows how to get work done by his artistes.
“I’m a director’s actor”
Though Prashanth gives suggestions to his father during the shoot, the actor says he is always a director’s boy and performs what the director wants from him. “As a kid, I watched the original version more than 70 times. After we planned the remake of the movie, I watched it almost 400 times,” says Prashanth. Meera Jasmine plays the role of Saritha, who paried with Thyagarajan in the original version, and Mumaith Khan dons the role of Jayamalini’s. The father-son duo want to keep the music a big surprise and say they will be launching the audio of the movie shortly. Mallika Sherawat plays the role of Silk Smitha. Prashanth says, “We’ve a lot of stories to tell about these stars but we are keeping everything under wraps as of now. The comedy scenes with Vadivelu will be one of the highlights.”
Thyagarajan, a multitasker
Thyagarajan performs three different roles in the film - producer, director and art director. “I do my homework. I don’t keep anything pending and I know exactly what I want from my actors,” he says. Apart from this film, the father-son duo is busy with another film Ponnar Shankar, in which Prashanth plays dual role. The film is based on the novel written by Chief Minister M Karunanidhi. “As a father I’m concerned about my kid. I was the one who chose his school. I wanted my son to be a doctor but when he got an opportunity to act, I thought let him give it a shot. He got the best banners and directors. He gave opportunities to new directors and it was not the right choice. I was the one who selected a wrong partner for him. As a father, I’m responsible to give him the best and that’s why we’re doing two films together,” says Thyagarajan.
‘I learnt a lot from my father’
“He (dad) always stays calm and never get disturbed. He knows my plus points and gets the best out of me. My dad is my best friend. I look up to him as my hero. He’s fascinating and phenomenal. He has got a lot of tricks in his bags and I often get surprised seeing those. I also learnt how to handle the pressure from my dad,” says Prashanth.