Nelson Dilipkumar, who’s debuting as a director with Kolamaavu Kokila, believes in content-oriented scripts. As he watched films by renowned directors including Mani Ratnam, Gautham Menon, Thiagarajan Kumararaja and Mysskin, the genre he wanted to explore with his debut film kept changing over time. “Depending on whose work I watched recently, I get inspired. For the past 10 years, I have directed reality shows and award nights. I was also a part of Jodi No: 1 and Bigg Boss Tamil,” he says.
Nelson’s excitement is tempered with caution when he speaks. “I don’t want to talk high about my film now. Apram romba kalaaichuruvaanga,” he laughs. But he was sure of experimenting with a ‘mixed genre’. “Initially, we thought of making a small-budget film. It garnered attention when Nayanthara came on board. She’s always open to working with new directors.”
On the story, he says, “It revolves around the life of a lower-middle-class girl (breadwinner of the family), who gets involved in an extraordinary situation. How she copes with it forms the rest of the plot,” he says, and clarifies, “The film is not about drugs, as some have concluded, but smuggling.”
Nelson says no other female actor has a market like Nayanthara in South cinema. “Though she has done quite a few women-centric films, Kolamaavu Kokila will be a lot more different in terms of script and content. She plays an innocent-yet-strong girl. The film will be realistic, and your average viewer will connect with her.”
It’s crime comedy, he says. “It also has family drama elements. Nayanthara maybe a ‘female Superstar’, but here, she plays a simple character, who’ll be seen in a skirt and shirt with a backpack and her hair tied in a plait.”
He wrote the script having Nayanthara in mind. “I know her since her Vallavan days. I was supposed to assist Simbu (his schoolmate), but it somehow didn’t happen. We were constantly in touch with each other though. When I approached her with the script, she instantly liked it. Also, during the two-hour narration, she felt quite a lot of incidents were funny. I knew her reply would be positive,” he smiles.
Kolamaavu Kokila also has Saranya Ponvannan, Yogi Babu, and RS Shivaji playing important roles. “When Saranya ma’am was dubbing, she, in fact, said she never remembered acting those portions. It was one heck of a shooting schedule. When you watch the film, you’ll know what I am talking about.”
Nelson was supposed to direct Simbu in Vettai Mannan. “He’s one of the main reasons I came into films. That project didn’t materialise, but I am hoping to revive it soon,” he says.
Though this is his debut project, Nelson isn’t really nervous. “I haven’t assisted any filmmaker, but I know the nuances of the art form. Assist panna dhan cinema theriyum nu illa. Filmmaking is more about having a control over your medium, and how you manage the floor and artistes effectively.” Before signing off, he says, “All I can assure you is that you won’t see Nayanthara anywhere in the film. You’ll just see her character. I wanted to make an honest film—one that is about Kolamaavu Kokila!”