After Thoonga Nagaram and Sigaram Thodu, Gaurav Narayanan returns with Ippadai Vellum starring Udhayanidhi Stalin. As is evident from his filmography so far, he’s a big fan of thrillers. “But I am going to present Ippadai Vellum in a different way and that was the only challenge. I usually don’t write scripts bearing a hero’s image in mind,” he says.
Gaurav cast Udhayanidhi Stalin as he felt that the actor would be apt for the lead character. “He is more a performer in this film. I didn’t choose him to be a hero,” he smiles. Both the male and the female lead characters, played by Udhayanidhi and Manjima, are software engineers. The protagonist, he says, believes that any problem can be solved with the application of intelligence. “It’s an urban, subtle role for Udhay, something he hasn’t done before.”
Even Soori, the director says, has been given a makeover. “Directors have so far got him saying lines like, ‘Vaanga maapla, ponga maapla’, but I’ve given him a makeover. I don’t want to give away too much. The film will speak for itself,” he says.
So, will Ippadai Vellum be an edge-of-the-seat thriller? “There’s a popular opinion in Tamil cinema that a thriller cannot have comedy portions. I have tried to break that. Though all the characters are presented as serious people, whatever they do on screen will end up making you laugh!”
The script took the director a year and a half to write. “I was particular that I write the story and dialogues too. I don’t think anybody else could have done justice to the writing,” he says. The pressure was not so much on telling an interesting story as it was in trying to please both audiences and critics. “Thoonga Nagaram and Sigaram Thodu were both also critically-acclaimed. It is important that this film also be received as well.”
While most filmmakers often talk about the novelty of their upcoming film, Gaurav is candid in saying that given the number of films we make every year, it’s impossible to come up with a new idea. “In the last 110 years, more than one and a half lakh films have been released. Everything has been done to death. More important than the what is the how. My hero won’t resort to beating up people to solve problems. In any case, that’s not the heroism of today,” he says.
Gaurav evinces excitement over Radikaa’s character, a bus driver. “Though she has done more than 1,000 films, she was thrilled by this role. That’s really a compliment, and I’ll cherish it always.” The actress had to drive a bus from the Tiruvannamalai bus depot. “She learned how to drive a bus in Chennai and we rehearsed it on the roads of Adyar and Besant Nagar. For this shot, she drove the bus with 200 passengers. It’s an important sequence in the film,” he adds.
The director’s love for cinema stems from all the films he watched as a boy. “I used to write down everything I liked and disliked in a film. That notebook was like a bible to me. What I had observed then is helping me in a big way.”
Is he confident about the success of Ippadai Vellum? He smiles. “Nobody knows the formula of success. I am doing films for my audience, the fourth wall. They will decide” Ippadai Vellum is getting released next week on a Thursday. He laughs. “The production house is sentimental,” he says. Gaurav has already completed two scripts, and hopes to work with Rajinikanth. “Avarukku mass-a class-a oru script irukku,” he signs off.