CHENNAI: Hitler. This name immediately reminds one of a black mark in world history; a traumatic past. However, according to director Dhana, the name is no longer associated with the dictator. “In my opinion, the name Hitler no longer refers to one person. Today, the name is an identity for dictatorship,” says Dhana when asked about the title of his upcoming film.
In this interview, director Dhana and actor Vijay Antony speak about their upcoming political action thriller film, Hitler, how it speaks against dictatorship, and much more.
On the film’s title and crux
Dhana: When the name Hitler is said, our minds think of fascism more than the man himself. We call our country democratic but I think that some form of dictatorship still persists in governance. The film’s message and my opinion is that this country is still under a dictatorial rule. The story revolves around one commoner who gives it his all to ensure that a dictator does not control the government. That being said, Hitler has all the elements to make it an out-and-out commercial film. Even though it is a political film, it also has romance, action, drama, and comedy.
Vijay Antony: I find the title to be very powerful, especially because it is the name of history’s most infamous dictator. My character does a few things like Hitler but while Hitler did it for the wrong reasons, Selva (his character’s name in the film) will do it for the right cause.
On what made Vijay Antony choose the film
Vijay Antony: I really enjoyed watching Dhana’s Vaanam Kottatum. I found his knowledge of the craft to be very impressive and I wanted to work with him. When TD Rajha sir of Chendur Films decided to produce a film with me, I suggested Dhana’s name to him, and coincidentally he had a script ready, which I was immediately drawn to.
On Vijay Antony’s characterisation and novel look in Hitler
D: I did not write the story keeping Vijay or anybody else in mind. After I completed the script, he came on board and liked the story, and then we went forward. So far, Vijay Antony’s films have seldom given importance to romance. But, in this film, the love story holds a lot of prominence and for that, we needed him to look younger than usual. We have managed this look with just makeup and styling, and have not used any VFX for de-ageing.
VA: He was very clear about my character design for this film. I am glad he didn’t write the story with me in mind. With regards to my look, the only new addition is a wig. I trusted the instincts of my director entirely and went in for the change in look.
On working with Gautham Vasudev Menon
VA: Gautham Menon sir is a wonderful performer. He is both subtle and stylish at the same time. Our storylines travel parallelly in the film, and he plays a positive role.
D: Right from my debut, Padaiveeran, I have been blessed with the opportunity of working with directors like Bharathiraja, Balaji Shakthivel, and now Tamizh, and Gautham Menon. It is not easy to make a director act, as they’re veterans themselves. But so far, working with these directors-turned-actors has been a great learning experience.
On the other cast members in Hitler
D: Charan Raj sir is making his comeback to Tamil cinema with Hitler. He will be seen in a prominent role in the film. While I grew up watching Rajini sir as the hero on the one side, on the other, it was Charan Raj sir playing the antagonist. For his character in Hitler, I needed someone with experience but who has not been seen onscreen for a while. Charan Raj sir was a perfect fit. Riya Suman, who plays the female lead in the film, was brought on board at the last minute. Her character has the same amount of prominence as Vijay Antony or Gautham Menon’s characters. Although she joined at the last minute, she learnt quickly and worked really hard.
On why Dhana took 4 years after his last film, Vaanam Kottatum, to make Hitler
D: After I completed Vaanam Kottatum, the pandemic began and I lost an entire year to it. Then, I got the golden opportunity of being the Chief Associate Director for Mani Ratnam sir on Ponniyin Selvan I and II. Immediately after finishing both parts, I began working on Hitler.
On Vijay Antony’s upcoming projects
VA: Coming up, I am writing a script for Pichaikkaran 3, which will be my next directorial. I am also back to composing music. Soon you will see me composing music for a few films that will not feature me as an actor.
Of course, I also have films like Romeo, Agni Siragugal, Mazhai Pidikkadha Manidhan, and Valli Mayil, coming up