Director Rajumurugan’s filmography is decorated with versatile and unique films. You have a grounded relationship drama like Cuckoo, the National Film Award-winning Joker, a thought-provoking film like Gypsy, and a beautiful short film like Lalagunda Bommaigal. Now adding to that list, is the director’s biggest, commercial film to date, Japan, the upcoming Karthi starrer.
Talking about how the project got off the ground, Rajumurugan says, “I had narrated an early version of Joker to Karthi, but he was not able to take it up. But ever since then, we remained friends and he had asked me to write something for a bigger canvas. Since I have written dialogues and songs for his films, we kept in touch. Later, I wrote a story keeping him in mind but that didn’t materialise. However, after a while, I wrote Japan and submitted it to Dream Warrior Pictures. But even without my knowledge, they had sent it to Karthi, who liked it.”
According to the director, he had initially written Japan to have a serious tone. However, after inputs from Karthi, Rajumurugan added quirky and comical elements to Japan.
He adds, “This is completely a new zone to me and I had to keep in mind the commercial business that comes with doing a hero-oriented film. This is a complete entertainer, but I have also tried to insert a message into the storytelling. It is a film for everyone. There is no mainstream politics, but a social relevance.”
In Japan, Karthi plays the role of the titular thief, but the director assures us that the film is not your regular police and thief story.
“It is a collection of many incidents that I have seen and heard. After we got a green signal for the project, we expanded Karthi’s characterisation and made it more commercial and accessible. The business and art of making a film for everybody is what I learnt from Japan. Of course, Karthi sir brought his knowledge and experience from having done 24 films.”
Apart from Karthi, Japan also stars Anu Emmanuel, Vijay Milton, Jithan Ramesh, KS Ravikumar, among others.
On their roles and casting, Raju Murugan adds, “Vijay Milton plays a police inspector and I was looking for someone with a dark complexion. We first thought of Pasupathy, but since we could not get his dates, we approached my long-term friend Vijay Milton and I’m glad he was able to take it up.”
On writing about women characters and the importance of Anu’s character in the film, the director says,
“When I write, I am conscious that women characters should also be important. In this film also, I have tried the same. This film has romance, but the kind of romance we haven’t seen much, and Anu Emmanuel has done it well. There will be justifications for the presence of women characters in Japan.”
Japan is set to hit the theatres for Diwali on November 10.