It’s not often that we come across a film with food playing a major character. But in the Tamil, Telugu and Kannada remake of Malayalam hit, Salt and Pepper, both food and love revolve around each other. The film, Un Samayal Araiyil directed by Prakash Raj, has him playing the central role of an archaeologist while Sneha, plays a dubbing artist. The film also introduces a new hero, Tejus, while camera person Preetha returns to cinema post a hiatus. In a chat with City Express, Tejus reveals why the film is special for him.
“It was always my dream to be an actor. So when the auditions for Un Samayal Araiyil happened, I grabbed the opportunity. Luckily for me, Prakash sir took one look at me and my portfolio and said, ‘you’re my hero’,” gushes Tejus.
Tejus plays Naveen, a student who lives with his uncle, played by Prakash Raj. Another newbie, Samyuktha from the Kannada industry, plays his love interest. So was he nervous, to be directed by Prakash Raj? “As a newcomer I wanted to get everything right and please my director. I had no scenes for the first 15 days of shoot. So I would just hang around the sets and observe Prakash sir’s style of working and see what upsets him and what makes him happy. That way, when my turn came to face the camera, I managed to keep him happy and get my shots right,” says Tejus and laughs.
The shoot went on in Mysore, Hyderabad and Chennai and Tejus is thrilled that he’s got a debut in a tri-lingual. He is more excited about another factor, “Ilayaraja has scored the music, and it’s an incredible break for a newbie like me to start my innings with the maestro’s music in my first film itself.”
But despite his attempts to get it right, there were a few rough moments. “I got a bit nervous when lengthy dialogues were expected of me. It was quite a task to deliver long dialogues and face Prakash sir at the same time,” he recalls. More tough were the romantic scenes. “It was embarrassing to romance Samyuktha for one song where we had to get intimate. But we both decided to get it done with like professionals,” he shrugs.
Camera person Preetha reveals to CE that several candid shots of people eating street food were shot for a month, before the shoot.
“We did research into authentic signature food of TN, AP and Karnataka. Then we took off with a 5D camera and a car and shot people eating local delicacies in all the three States. Some were on candid camera, while others agreed to be photographed while eating. All these food shots play a vital role in one song and are the motif of the title song which has food as its base.”