In a season dominated by flossy rom-coms and nail-biting thrillers, comes Vetrichelvan, a film dealing with the travails of a mentally challenged patient. Ad film maker Rudran, who now debuts as director, has also written and produced the film. He has apparently chosen the stroryline based on his observations from the lives of several patients. Ajmal, who plays the mentally challenged young man, will be seen in two get-ups, playing a playboy as well. Chatting with CE, Rudran reveals more.
“This is perhaps one of the last films to be shot in the 35 mm film format. After Sethu, you will now again see a powerful performance and emotional story, based on a mentally challenged person. Ajmal has done a great job,” says Rudran.
So what prompted him to take up such a subject? “While shooting for Yaavarum Nalam as an assistant director to Vikram Kumar, I was present at a hospital for the mentally challenged. I observed the goings-on there from close quarters. I found that there are many people who were left there as children, but who have now been cured. But they’ve been abandoned there by their families and have nowhere to go. Several people from families of well-known people are also there as patients. My film is about how we as a society, view the mentally challenged and how we treat them. We need to see them as human and give them the love and care they are in need of. ” A large part of the film was shot at a well-known mental hospital in Chennai.
Radhika Apte plays a lawyer, while singer Mano turns actor again, playing a music college professor. “I needed a jolly kind of person, in the 40’s age group and Mano fit the bill,” says Rudran. He’s all praise for Radhika Apte, “She has absolutely no attitude. When I met her for the script narration and she was extremely cordial. In fact, unlike other heroines who come with an entourage of parents, assistant, hairstylist and makeup man, she travelled alone for the shoot. She thus saved me a lot of the production cost.”
The unit travelled all the way to Kashmir to shoot two songs. “I wanted to showcase the exotic mustard fields which are found in Kashmir, in one song. But though the scenic locales in and around Pahalgam were breath-taking , we ran into trouble with some of the locals asking us to stop shoot. But we somehow managed to complete our work before leaving,” recalls Rudran. The film is set to release on 20 June.