Vivegam: Thala and his hit maker Siva are back again

Director Siva has never discussed an upcoming film of his as many times before its release as he has for Vivegam.

Published: 24th August 2017 11:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th August 2017 09:51 PM   |  A+A-

Ajith and director Siva during the shoot of Vivegam.

Express News Service

Siva says he hasn’t slept in a while, thanks to Vivegam’s post-production work that has kept him up for weeks on end. “My wife is pretty angry with me,” he laughs. The director has never discussed an upcoming film of his as many times before its release as he has for Vivegam. “It has all been different for Vivegam.” Excerpts from the chat follows...

Why is it that if it’s an Ajith film it’s directed by Siva?
(Laughs) Nothing like that! But yes, I’ve done three films with him now, and given the terrific actor and person that he is, I’d love to keep working with him. If he calls me, I’ll be there.

Isn’t that how films are made here? After all, stars call the shots.
True, but directors also have control. My simple reasoning for our association is this: when there’s happiness in our bond, why break it? Both of us have great respect for each other’s hard work. In fact, I don’t know if I’m talented, but I can vouch for my obsession with work. I have put in unconditional work for Vivegam. It has been a couple of weeks since I slept. We shot in trying conditions, which includes shooting in sub-zero temperatures. We climbed mountains without safety equipment just for a good shot or two. When I compare it with my previous work, I’ve never done so much for a film before. Ever since I conceived Vivegam as an international spy thriller, it was clear that it would demand this level of work.


We heard Ajith has put in a lot of work too…
He was under a lot of physical strain. The film required it. I was concerned about his health; I knew he was recovering from a surgery. But both of us knew he had to do these demanding action sequences, which form a crucial part of this film. He is an action hero with terrific reflexes. For the sake of the film, he has to be physically fit to do such scenes.

Veeram was about a man of violence. Vedalam was about a man who unleashed his violence with glee. Vivegam’s trailer ends with Ajith’s character saying, “You will see my rage.” Is it fair to say they are all part of a rage trilogy?
Wow, I never thought of my films in this light. I made them as three independent films. Maybe now that you’ve put this thought into my mind, I may think about this.

The action set-pieces were my favourite part of your last film, Vedalam. You’re clearly a fan of action.

I love action blocks! I’m a big admirer of heroism. Such moments really compliment charismatic heroes like Ajith sir. I think the audience will love the action segments in Vivegam. I diligently write them down first, get them storyboarded, and then figure out how they can be accomplished with my stunt choreographers.

You must have felt a lot of pressure to outdo the sequences in Vedalam.
Not just Vedalam, we wanted every action block within Vivegam to be totally different. There’s a fist-fight, a sword fight, a nunchaku fight… And all these fights are guided by an underlying emotion which dictates everything from the location of the fight to its intensity. One dramatic fight happens between two moving trains. I assure you, you have never seen anything like it in Tamil cinema.

How do you integrate the masala elements you’re known for into a genre film like Vivegam?
When I take up a genre, I try to be as honest as possible to it. But there are certain mandatory elements I believe in, like comedy, love and sentiment. In Vivegam, there’s a wife sentiment angle that has come out really well. I think Indian films should be emotionally rooted. Perhaps it’s on account of how I was brought up. I may be wrong about this, but these are the films I like to watch.

But do they always work? In Vedalam, for instance, I thought the main problem was…
Soori’s comedy, I know. But it worked big time in the B and C centres. I was told that it didn’t work only in A centres. When I make a film that’s designed to appeal to all centres, I think it’s okay that a few parts don’t work across centres. In Vivegam though, there’s no separate comedy track. The jokes are integrated into the script. They are all in the form of dry, funny one-liners, like the one you saw in the trailer.


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