Director Vetrimaran, Balu Mahendra’s protégé, has never disappointed, be it his first film Polladhavan, or second Aadukalam, which won five National Film Awards, of which the filmmaker received two—for best direction and best screenplay.
After producing another award-winner Kaka Muttai, which has become the toast of international film festivals, Vetrimaran’s latest project Visaranai is set for release on January 29.
An experimental film of the thriller genre, the director says the film “came straight from my heart, moved by the real-life happening of an individual, who never gave up.”
Happy with the way Visaranai has been received at the film festivals —it also won the Amnesty International Italy’s Cinema for Human Rights—Vetrimaran says it was the time when he was convinced that language can never be a barrier for a good thing to be appreciated.
As a researcher to learn new things and present it to the audience in his style, Vetrimaran says it pays to do homework, having shifted his base to learn the Madurai slang during the making of Aadukalam.
On Visaranai, the director says meeting an auto driver in Coimbatore and getting to know his story—he was arrested by the police when he was barely eking out his living as a labourer—made him plump for a subject which initially looked out of sorts for him.
“The labourer penning his thoughts by way of a book was the defining moment for me to dwell deep into it and present it with reasonable conviction. The viewers will appreciate the realistic ways of the characters with nothing padded up for the commercial element,” he says.
Acceding that there’s no way can he change a system, Vetrimaran saw the dutiful ways of a director to let know the audience that the medium is not just for raking in the moolah. “Yes, security of fund is a must and only when the stomach is full, can ideas churn out in a pure form,” says the director, who is never short of inspiration in taking the good things from everyone in the medium of cinema.
Beyond borrowing ideas though, the director in him has to surface, says Vetrimaran. “Once the script is ready, I get transported to a different world and totally focused like a horse with blinkers on,” he says.
Not inclined to see cinema as an extended form of art, the filmmaker says he has a commitment towards mainstream movie viewers. “My sense has to be sharp to get the reciprocation. The medium may be an escape route for the average movie buff, but it is the discerning who give the right feedback. Opinions do matter as there is always scope for improvisation”. Not restricting to a parameter, Vetrimaran says he is happy to delve into different things. His lung-opener Polladhavan revolved around the underworld bike theft gangs. “It’s the perspective of the writer and from where you perceive a reality that determines the quality of the work. A film should enrich me as well as the audience,” he says.
On directors getting flak or appreciation in tune with the results, Vetrimaran says entertainment is still a watchword of his, yearning to bring to light the hardships of the downtrodden. “In producer’s money, I cannot take the luxury of preaching, but a hard-hitting film can have an impact on the audience, intelligent as they are to separate wheat from chaff.”
Not willing to hazard a guess on how Visaranai will be received in the circles which decide the fate of a movie, Vetrimaran says the verdict rests in the hands of the audience.