The cornerstone of Tamil cinema has always been the B and C markets, says R Panneerselvam of Renigunta fame, when discussing Vijay Sethupathi-starrer Karuppan that is releasing this week. “Rural films are my comfort zone and Karuppan is no exception. I look for scripts that will appeal to all audiences, but with a special emphasis on rural audiences. B and C audiences will identify with the emotions of my characters more than urban audiences,” he says.
Panneerselvam has already made a film called 18 Vayasu in 2012. “After that, I have been writing scripts, but Karuppan got made because the subject is close to my heart,” he says.
When he began writing the script for this film, he made a promise to himself that the storyline should be more engaging than Vikram Vedha. “It’s one of the best performances of Vijay Sethupathi. As Karuppan is releasing after it, it’s natural that audiences would compare both the films. Mine shouldn’t be disappointing,” he smiles.
The teaser shows Vijay Sethupathi taming a bull, but the film isn’t about the jallikattu protests, he says. “The project was started even before the jallikattu protests and has nothing to do with any controversy.”
Panneerselvam claims that till date, nobody has made a film completely about jallikattu. “We have shot the real jallikattu in the film, after taking all the relevant permissions from the Animal Welfare Board,” he assures.
Karuppan also stars Tanya of Brindavanam fame and Bobby Simha as the villain. “Simha’s role is so good that Vijay Sethupathi wanted to do it. We wanted an unconventional antagonist and approached Simha. As he’s quite close to Sethupathi, he agreed to be a part of the film without questions. Both have previously been part of two successful ventures, Soodhu Kavvum and Iraivi,” he says.
Panneerselvam is in awe of Vijay Sethupathi. “He’s always improvising. Sometimes, he’d call me at four in the morning and suggest things. He has no ego issues, despite being an A-grade artiste.”
Karuppan was extensively shot in and around Theni and has music by Imman.
The film is about the celebration of a marriage, and also about Tamil culture. Working with Vijay Sethupathi was a learning experience as he’s a perfectionist — Tanya