Arun Matheshwaran made heads turn even before the release of his debut film, Rocky. The promotions set the tone for his style of films, and as expected, the film opened to rave reviews. Now, he’s back with Saani Kaayidham, a bigger and bloodier film that stars Keerthy Suresh and Selvaraghavan in the lead. Calling Saani Kaayidham the second film of his revenge trilogy, Arun says, “I didn’t plan to make Saani Kaayidham as my sophomore film. It just happened to be that way. I have one more film pending in the trilogy, which I will be making sometime later in my career.”
However, Arun shares that he doesn’t want to be known just for the violence in his films. “I want to be as versatile as possible. I consciously made Rocky and Saani Kaayidham with the same style and treatment, but it doesn’t mean that I can make only one type of film.
After four or five films, the audience will have a better understanding of my work.” He goes on to reveal that his untitled third film with Dhanush will be nothing like his previous two works. “Though it will be a very different film, it will have my signature and sensibilities. I believe every filmmaker should have a distinct signature. It is healthy for cinema.”
The director feels that violence in cinema must be an expression and not a glorification. “I would never want my films to give the audience the feel of a butcher shop. I play around with the sounds, surroundings and reactions of the actors to convey the gruesomeness.” Arun has worked with a relatively new technical team in Saani Kaayidham. “I believe the script decides its technicians. And I am someone who gets involved in all the departments to ensure that there is a singular vision. So, I don’t think I need exactly the same team in all my films,” he says.
Interestingly all the leads in his films: Bharathiraja, Selvaraghavan and Dhanush, are also directors. Asked if that’s a conscious pattern, Arun denies it after a small laugh. “I didn’t plan it to be this way. But somehow, all my male leads have this interesting connection.”
It is tricky business to direct a leading female star like Keerthy Suresh in an unconventional, raw and violent film, but Arun says that he hardly felt the pressure. “Keerthy is a sought-after actor and I am aware that her fans expect to see her in cute, girl-next-door roles, but that didn’t restrict me from writing and shooting the film the way I wanted. Selvaraghavan sir too is a star in his own right. I am confident that fans of both will be glad that they took up this film.”
During the promotions of Rocky, Arun was often seen asking the audience to consume the film on the big screens to get a wholesome experience. But Saani Kaayidham will have an exclusive digital premiere on Amazon Prime Video on May 6 and has given the theatres a skip. Arun shares that a lot of factors compelled the team to opt for an OTT release.
“Unlike Rocky, which had a non-linear narrative, Saani Kaayidham is a simpler story, which follows the
journey of two characters. But I went through a lot of restrictions when compared to Rocky. We shot Saani Kaayidham during lockdowns within limited locations and crew. So we had to go ahead with this collective decision.”