After a stellar debut with Sathuranga Vettai, director H Vinoth has struck gold once again with Theeran Adhigaram Ondru, starring Karthi. There’s been a gap of three years in between, but Vinoth isn’t the type to say that he’s spent them all working on this film. “I tried to make another project materialise a year before Theeran... got confirmed. That kept me occupied for a while,” says a composed Vinoth.
He’s pleased about all the positive reception. “I have also got a number of calls from policemen who are very happy about the portrayal of their work in the film,” he says. “As filmmakers, there’s little freedom we get in a commercial film; so I’m happy that whatever I could say in this film has made an impact.”
The positive reviews notwithstanding, aspects like the underutilised love angle and the misplaced songs have come in for some criticism.
“There are a lot of people out there who are eager to catch the film again only for the romance portions. And many have told me that they wish there had been more songs,” defends Vinoth. “When you make a film with a big hero like Karthi, it’s important to cater to everyone. That’s how we can ensure a good collection.” He pauses a bit and says that writing such forced romance tracks isn’t altogether pleasing. “My hands shake when I weave in such an angle, but nothing can be done about it Only a hero can attract crowds to the theatres and such elements are necessary to satisfy audiences,” he says. “I also have to remember that there’s a big audience out there for Karthi. So, yes, this pressure of working with a big star was new for me.”
The film is based on a true story that Vinoth learned about from the news — about dacoities that happened between 1995 and 2005 and how independent houses on the highways were targetted. “I spoke about this case only with Karthi, who was intrigued.” The fascinating aspect about this case for Vinoth was how despite convictions, these burglaries continue to happen.
“The Bawarias are a talented bunch of people who’re ostracised for various reasons. They live like nomads and on the outskirts as they aren’t allowed to enter the villages,” he says. Vinoth believes that they are ‘genetically strong’. “This can be put to great use in athletics or in the military. That’s the only way to reduce crimes from their end. They need to be included into society.”
Vinoth almost contemplated making a documentary when he read about this case. “That’s why this film too has a small docu-drama touch. I wanted to make an engaging film that wouldn’t be bound to any established genre rules.” And in that sense, Theeran Adhigaram Ondru is in a zone quite different from his first film, which was known for its dark comedy. “Theeran... has that too, but as it’s a hero-oriented subject, we couldn’t write in too many dialogues. Sure, we have a cliched romance (smiles), but we have got some interesting stunt choreography too,” he says.
The film was shot across India including in the barren lands of Rajasthan. And much like the film’s protagonist, the film too faced problems concerning weather, food, transport, and language. “If we have a problem here, we can use our influence but there we had no choice but to simply listen to whatever they told us,” he says. Given that the film’s title translates to ‘Theeran: Chapter 1’, I ask if the plan is to make it a franchise, like Hari did Singam. “If Singam’s first film hadn’t been successful, there would have been no sequel. If fans crave for a sequel, it’ll happen even if I have no interest in it (laughs),” he says. “But what we actually meant with the title is that it’s simple another chapter in a cop’s life.”