Balaji Tharaneetharan and Vijay Sethupathi have remained in touch since their Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom days. The director, in fact, told the story of Seethakaathi to Vijay Sethupathi four years ago. “I casually told him the concept and he quite liked it. Since my protagonist is a septuagenarian, I never expected to cast Vijay in it. It didn’t even strike me. But he wanted to give it a shot,” says Balaji, who adds that it’s always a delight to work with the actor. “We’re good friends, and he gives me complete freedom to execute my thoughts.”
Seethakaathi is Vijay Sethupathi’s 25th project, and the makers are trying to make it special. “We’ve been shooting since last April in Chennai, and it’s almost done. Vijay plays a stage artiste in the film, but he’s not named Seethakaathi. When you watch the film, you’ll know why we titled the project so,” says the filmmaker.
The first look poster of the film was unveiled at midnight on Monday to mark the actor’s birthday. In it, he’s seen with grey hair, wrinkled skin, and glasses, which seems to resemble the look of Kamal Haasan in Indian. “The idea was to present him in a way that the audience have never seen before. We managed to rope in Academy Award-winner Kevin Haney for the make-up. Another senior make-up artist Alex Noble was also brought on board.
It takes four hours to put on the make-up and two hours to remove it. I was amazed by Vijay’s patience, and how he gets into the mould of the character immediately,” says Balaji.
Seethakaathi was a renowned philosopher who was born in Kilakarai in 1650 AD, but Balaji clarifies that his film isn’t a biopic. “It rather explores the values that Seethakathi tried to inculcate in people,” he says.
While veteran actor Archana of Neengal Kettavai-fame plays Vijay’s wife in the film, director J Mahendran, Bagavathy Perumal and Rajkumar will all be seen in pivotal roles.
“I was wondering who would be good alongside Vijay’s character, and eventually thought of Archana ma’am. We wanted an unconventional pair and went with her. She’s a natural actor and an amazing performer.” The film also has cameos by Gayathrie, Parvatii Nair, and Remya Nambeesan.