Films worked on: Kabali
Why filmmaking? How did your journey commence?
Stories and writing have always interested me. When my dad passed away, people who were mourning his death told me many stories about him that I had not heard before. I never knew about this other side to him. That was the spark that made me seriously consider filmmaking.
What’s the oddest thing you have done as an assistant director?
Crowd control! During the shoot of Madras, for instance, a few people who had come to watch were drunk and charged us with intruding in their area. We also had people throwing small stones and such at us, when the crowd felt that they were not allowed to meet Karthi. Another scary incident happened when we were shooting a murder scene in Vyasarpadi. We heard that someone was seen running on the streets, soaked with blood. Eventually, we were told this person was murdered. That was disturbing. And then, during the shoot of Kabali, we were greeted with knives!
What do you like about Pa Ranjith’s school of filmmaking? What have you learned?
He’s very level-headed, and I love his tolerance levels. Thanks to him, I’ve learned how to make an interesting movie from the real lives of people.
Have you ever been star-struck? How did you get over it, if you have?
I was initially awed by the presence of Rajinikanth and couldn’t believe that I got to work with him. It was Ranjith who helped me get over it.
What is the best thing about being an AD?
The fact that there are surprises waiting at every corner. For instance—I was not available for a few days during the shoot of Kabali, and I got a call from the producer telling me that Rajini sir asked where I was! I never expected that.
What do you want to change about Tamil cinema?
I feel everyone should be treated equally. Why is a lightman not treated with the same respect that other technicians are? It’s not just lightmen; I have seen many others not getting the respect they deserve. This is especially true of the daily wage workers. Why is a junior artiste not provided the same food that others get served? I want to change that about the industry.
What are your future and upcoming projects?
I’m in talks with a leading producer to finalise my debut film. The film revolves around hijacking and will be a political thriller.
Debut films are often the result of compromises. What’s one area you will never be willing to compromise on?
I will never compromise on my ideology or my script. But I’d be willing to compromise on other aspects such as cast, crew and budget.
Who’s the dream cast of your debut film?
I believe that the story is always the main hero. But, there’s a part of me that wants to make a movie inspired by my father’s life, and I want to cast Vijay Sethupathi in the lead role.