Director A Sarkunam shares that the recently released Kalavani sequel was not conceived immediately after the success of the original. “I know sequels are all the rage now, but Kalavani 2 was a surprise decision. A lot of people were asking me to do it. I was waiting for the right script.
When I heard a friend’s story about local body elections, it felt like a perfect backdrop to set the sequel in,” says Sarkunam, dressed in a white shirt and dhoti. And in any case, Kalavani 2 that has come out to modest reviews, isn’t really a conventional sequel. “We mentioned quite clearly at the start of the film that it’s not a ‘direct sequel’, even though characters from the original film were retained, including Vimal as Arikki aka Arivazhagan, Saranya madam, and Ilavarasu sir.
Even Panchayathu (Ganja Karuppu) was retained. The conflict might be new, but I believe that the entertainment of the original film is very much here too.” Though the idea of a protagonist trying to become a politician rings similar to Vimal’s other film, Kedi Billa Killadi Ranga, Sarukunam assures that Kalavani 2 is different. “It is a story that happens in the backdrop of a village, and will also focus on the relationships in it,” says the Naiyaandi director. Despite the actor having made quite some progress from his Kalavani days, the director expresses satisfaction that their relationship hasn’t changed.
“When Vimal donned the get up of Arikki this time — the funk hairstyle, the threads that go on his wrist and neck, and the white-and-white attire — it was a déja vu moment. We have been good friends even before the first film happened. Even the first film I produced, Manjapai, featured him as the lead,” says Sarkunam.
Speaking about Oviyaa for whom Kalavani was one of her first Tamil films, the director says, “Her originality is her biggest strength and that is something we saw during her stint at Bigg Boss as well. She is a huge pillar of strength for the film.” Sarkunam sticks by his film and says it has a lot of humour. “Vimal and his friends are a riot here,” says the director who adds that it was a deliberate choice to have a group of composers do music for the film.
“Mani Amudhavan, who wrote the hit song Alunguren Kulunguraen in Chandi Veeran, has a good sense of music. His song, Ottaram Pannatha, has become a hit. Ronald Regan and V2 have composed a song each. Natarajan Sankaran (of Moodar Koodam fame) handled the re-recording.” The director feels that a film like Kalavani — with an idling protagonist, who eyes school girls, and one who kidnaps a woman because his friend shows interest — is timeless. “We are just showing how life is, in a particular location.
The original story was a romance and would work today. There have been films like Kadhal and Paruthiveeran that have shown heroes falling for school-going girls. Whether a film is welcomed or not depends on how a script is treated and shot,” says Sarkunam. “The way a film is presented may have changed today, but rural content still works. Ajith sir has shown that with Veeram and Viswasam. Kadaikutty Singam became a hit for Karthi. Rural scripts very much work for mass heroes.”
Sarkunam also believes that when films fail to connect, it is the screenplay that is to be blamed usually. “It is easy to figure out what went wrong.” For a director who has been consistently giving one or two releases every couple of years, this film came four years after his last release, Chandi Veeran. “I planned to do one with Madhavan sir in between. It’s an action film that would be loved by kids but then he suffered an injury and the film got postponed. We are in talks to revive the film.”