CHENNAI: Director Gaurav owes his life to Vikram Prabhu, in more ways than one. Sigaram Thodu has only brought him a second lease of life, literally. “Vikram Prabhu is my real life hero. He actually saved my life during the shoot,” he says.
They were shooting in the Himalayas when disaster struck, Gaurav narrates. “I was shooting a chase scene on a treacherous Himalayan route. Vikram was ahead of me, while I was in an auto. Our unit was behind in a car. Suddenly, the auto overturned and I fainted due to the impact. Vikram noticed what happened. He immediately stopped his vehicle, picked me up and carried me to a hospital. He didn’t waste a second, looking for help. His presence of mind in that remote location, and his true concern saved me that particular day,” he says.
Gaurav is directing a film nearly two years after his debut movie Thoonganagaram. He justifies the delay, and says, “I took a lot of time for research. The movie is based on scamsters who cheat people by faking their credit and debit cards. Nearly `1,500 crore is robbed this way. People and the police don’t know the intricacies of the vast network behind it. I want my film to be an eye-opener. I met a real scamster who has defrauded people off `12 crore in ATM transactions, for the movie. He is in Puzhal jail. I had to take special permission. I had to slowly get him to open up to me about the methodology involved. All this took nearly eight months.” Once he had the story ready, he worked on the screenplay to establish authenticity and show the complexities involved.
A stickler for perfection, Gaurav gave Vikram two months, to prepare for the cop role, “He has very close cropped hair in the film. So I waited till he finished shooting his other films, to avoid their continuity issues.” Vikram also trained and shot at the Vandalur Police Academy, where real cops gave him tips on the nuances of the role. These permissions too took time. The Pidichirikku duet by D Imman, took nearly a year to shoot! Gaurav explains how, “That location in the Himalayas, opens only for two days in May. So we shot for two days last year, and waited for May this year to complete it!” The icing on his cake is the appa aspect, “Usually amma sentiments are heavily shown in our films. But I wanted to show the father-son relationship and no-one could have played a better dad than Sathyaraj.”