For the love of comedy

Anand Narayan, the director of the upcoming Santhanam-starrer 'Inga Naan Thaan Kingu', talks about how he got into the project, his love for comedy, and more
A still from 'Inga Naan Thaan Kingu' movie
A still from 'Inga Naan Thaan Kingu' movie

Director Anand Narayan believes that if you are at the right place at the right time, opportunity will come knocking at your door. He reveals that he got roped into 'Inga Naan Thaan Kingu' (INTK), just as he was hoping to direct Santhanam. “The story for 'INTK' was written by Ezhichur Aravindan and was already finalised for Santhanam by Gopuram Films production house. At the same time, they were looking for directors to helm the project and they thought I would be a perfect fit,” he says.

For Anand, working with Santhanam was on his wishlist from the time he made his debut film 'India Pakistan' in 2015. On why he wanted to work with the actor, the director elaborates, “I love Santhanam’s sense of humour and I have always wanted to direct him. I approached him to play a key role as a comedian in India Pakistan, but it couldn’t materialise then. And now, I finally got to work with him,” he says.

According to the director, Santhanam’s character Vetrivel in 'INTK' is a “typical 90’s middle-class man who has certain expectations of what his marital life should be like.” The story, unlike his character, is not the usual, assures Anand. Fate throws challenges into the life of this ordinary man and how he comes out of it successfully and reaches an insurmountable height, forms the rest of the story.

“When I read the script, I knew this film had plenty of scope for comedy. But that alone won’t be the strength of 'Inga Naan Thaan Kingu',” he emphasises and adds, “The story also encompasses the right amount of family drama, sentiment and romance,” he elaborates. “When the story has multiple comedy tracks forcefully fed into the story, there would be a saturation point, but when the humour is seamlessly blended with the screenplay along with appropriate dialogues, it would evoke the right amount of laughter from the audience.”

Addressing criticism that Santhanam has been donning similar roles for the last few years, Anand says, “During his comedian phase, Santhanam provided years of rib-tickling humour. However, as a lead actor, different expectations arise. Yet, given the right script, he will embrace roles that allow him to showcase full-fledged comedy once more. I believe this story offers that opportunity, where he would be more of a hero, while also having ample space for comedic experimentation. It will be completely different from Santhanam’s previous films.”

The film stars an ensemble cast that includes Munishkanth, Vivek Prasanna, Bala Saravanan, Maran and Cool Suresh. “This combination of supporting actors, comprising both familiar faces who have previously collaborated with Santhanam and newcomers to the team, will bring a distinct feel to the film. Each of their characters will shine through their performances,” Anand notes.

Collaborating along with this star cast is Priyalaya, who will mark her debut through this film. As a well-known YouTuber and a dancer, the actor was selected to play Thenmozhi, opposite Santhanam’s Vetrivel, after a few rounds of auditions. “We were careful to select a female lead who knew to navigate this space. Her character will be on screen throughout the runtime and is crucial to move the story forward,” he says.

Comedy as a genre has always fascinated Anand, who mentions that some of his favourite actors include Nagesh and Goundamani. “Their characters have left an everlasting impact on us,” he reflects, before adding Santhanam to the list. “He always endeavours to deliver top-notch comedy, consistently improvising and offering input to us as well as other artists to enhance the overall quality of the film.”

Expressing confidence that 'INTK' will resonate deeply with the audience, Anand says, “Vetrivel is a character who will resemble someone from our families. Comedy is also a big factor that will bring them to theatres.”

Unfazed by the pressures of the industry despite returning after a nine-year gap, the director conveys his unwavering confidence in his work. “I believe in delivering the best when the right opportunity comes walking in. In my mind, I am still playing the game and would like to hit it out of the park every time,” he remarks, before signing off.

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The New Indian Express