Director Santhosh P Jayakumar has the unique distinction of starting off his career with two adult comedies. After his first, Hara Hara Mahadevaki (HHM), he’s now ready with his second adult comedy, Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuthu. He will be breaking this cycle though with his third film, Ghajinikanth, which is being promoted as a family entertainer. With IAMK hitting the screes this Friday, the filmmaker talks about how he didn’t mean to follow up with another adult comedy. “I didn’t want to end up being just another debut director and fade away. I wanted to create a unique identity for myself, and that’s why I chose the under-explored adult comedy genre.”
Excerpts from a conversation:
Any worries that you’ll get pegged as an adult comedy director?
I’m definitely under no compulsion to work in the same genre. I would hate to be stereotyped, and I know that I’m more capable than that. That’s why, while working on IAMK, I began shooting for Arya’s Ghajinkanth, which will get a U-certificate. But I am not distancing myself from adult comedies. I might direct another, but my ultimate aim is to try my hand at all genres.
In fact, I want to make an out-and-out children’s film like Raja Chinna Roja. I even have a one-line story ready. If I get the right hero and production company, I would love to make it.
The actors who are part of your film often talk about all the fun on the sets.
I make sure none of them leave the sets feeling uncomfortable. The shooting spot is my home, and the actors are my guests. Making them feel comfortable and happy is my prime goal. The comfort level on the sets reflects on the performance you see on screen.
Tell us about Ghajinikanth, Arya’s first film in more than a year.
The characters he has played in previous comedies have been a bit unidimensional. Here, he plays a guy who has trouble remembering things. It will be a unique film for him.
Coming back to your second release, IAMK, Gautham Karthik recently quipped that he doesn’t even remember the story you narrated for the film.
When I first shared the one-liner of IAMK with Gautham, he said, “Darling, I trust you. The story doesn’t matter to me.” After that, I rewrote the script several times. What you’ll be seeing on screen is the fourth draft. Perhaps that’s why he said that.
Wrapping a film in 23 days is no mean feat.
I preplan everything before going to the location. Usually, directors schedule the time needed to shoot a scene. But I preplan the time taken to film each and every shot while working on the script itself. I set achievable targets and then achieve it. In fact, there were some days when I was shooting for Ghajinikanth in the day and IAMK in the night. Without detailed planning and the support of my assistant directors, I couldn’t have done this.
The response to Hara Hara Mahadevaki was mixed. Any parting words to the audience about IAMK?
I request the audience not to come to the theatres expecting a social message. It’s a fun film. I believe that most of the mishaps happening in the country today are because we treat sex as a taboo subject, and shirk from talking about it. Films like IAMK handle the topic in a humorous way, and I do think it can cause positive change in our society.