Aruvi that has been in the making for quite a few years, will finally hit the theatres this week and its director, Arun Prabhu Purushothaman, will finally breathe a sigh of relief. The director says it all began when we was called by producer SR Prabhu to narrate his story. “I adopted a narrative style that was unique.
I had had a few awkward experiences of trying to narrate the story. I had found it was hard for me to hold the attention for two-three hours continuously. So I thought that performing with music may engage producers better. It helps make them understand how the film will get presented theatrically. After sometime, they begin to feel like they are watching the film unfold,” he says.
Aruvi, incidentally, is Arun’s second script. On why his first script didn’t come to fruition, he explains, “The script needed an atypical hero. I wasn’t patient enough to compromise for any hero. And then, I decided to go ahead with Aruvi instead which I figured would be simpler to execute.”
So, what is Aruvi all about? “Aruvi is about love. It’s an engaging story of a simple girl called Aruvi. Someone who leads a normal life and has her own dreams and aspirations.” I ask about some of the dialogues getting changed. The director reveals that after the first draft, the producers became sceptical over whether the Censor Board would have a problem with some of the lines. “That’s why we decided to tone it town.”
The director attributes the delay of the film to it being a small-budget film. “I wrote Aruvi in 2013. We had finished the film by the end of 2015,” he says. “And then, we took it to festivals for almost a year. This is the market scenario for films that do not have established names in its cast. When the entire team is new, the scope for release and consequently, revenue, is minimal.”
Is he worried that the delay would make the subject not so timely? “Aruvi is a film about humanity. Stories about humanity never go out of fashion.”
On filmmakers increasingly making socio-political commentary through their work, he says, “The impact that reality has on filmmakers is what induces us to write such hard-hitting stories. It is the same with me. I am confident that the audience will be able to relate to Aruvi on an emotional level.”
He says it’s a ‘musically heavy’ film. “The script required a soulful sound. When we listened to Vedanth’s album, Suno Bhai, we instantly fell in love. They were also equally excited about Aruvi when they heard the idea. It is our sync that has resulted in some rewarding music.”
Arun Prabhu also comes from the Balu Mahendra school of filmmaking, and comparisons with another student—Vetrimaaran—are inevitable, given that Aruvi too has gone through the festival route before its commercial release. “Every time, I felt distanced from filmmaking, Balu Mahendra sir gave me hope. I would meet him regularly and share my work with him.
I would just listen to him talking, ask him questions and then come back when I had more. Any comparisons with Vetrimaaran will be dispelled when you see how my film is very different from his style. Actually, I would say I am more influenced by director KS Ravikumar’s school of screenwriting than director Balu Mahendra’s,” he says.
The film had an intensive audition process for its cast made up of debutants. “We were on the look out for people who could reflect upon the characters written in the script. So we would invite random people for auditions. We would have long conversations with them and observe them. Sometimes, a single audition would take more than half a day.
Even when the audition is done, sometimes, we would sit as an entire team, watch the audition clip a few times, and then have a conversation over whether the person would be appropriate for the role.” Arun hasn’t made up his mind over his next film. “I’m just glad Aruvi is getting released,” he says.