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'Naan Sigappu Manithan will be a new experience for the audience'

April 11, 2014 09:02 IST

'Naan Sigappu Manithan will be a new experience for the audience'

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S Saraswathi/Rediff.com in Chennai

Director Thiru's debut film, Theeradha Vilaiyattu Pillai, a romantic comedy, opened to mixed reviews, but went on to become a huge box office success. 

This was followed by Samar in January last year, a film that won both critical acclaim as well as commercial success.

 Incidentally, actor Vishal played the lead in both the films. Now director Thiru is back with his third film, Naan Sigappu Manithan, with Vishal once again essaying the role of the protagonist.  

In this interview with rediff.com, director Thiru talks about his long association with Vishal, the much-talked-about lip-lock scene, and not being in competition with the Rajinikanth starrer Kochadaiiyaan.

Three consecutive films with Vishal...any particular reason for that?

To be honest, nothing was planned, things just happened. 

For my first film, Theeradha Vilaiyattu Pillai, I did approach Vishal as I felt that he would suit the character in the film, but for Samar and Naan Sigappu Manithan, the decision was made spontaneously.

Vishal and I have been friends for a long time; we often discussed my ideas and scripts.

It was during these casual discussions among friends that Vishal expressed a desire to do the film and things just fell into place.

But I do believe that the script played a huge factor in this decision. 

Every script demands a particular actor and Vishal fit the bill perfectly for all my three films.  Also, perhaps, Vishal likes my working style.


Image: Vishal and Lakshmi Menon in Naan Sigappu Manithan


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'I have always been very comfortable working with Vishal'

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Was actor Jai the original choice for the film?

Jai and I were supposed to do a film together, but that was for another script. 

Unfortunately, that did not work out and I started work on Naan Sigappu Manithan.

Tell us about Vishal, the producer.

I have always been very comfortable working with him and he was no different as a producer.

Being an actor himself, he had a better understanding of how things work.  We never had any problems at all. 

In fact all the hype that the film has generated is due to the tremendous efforts of the production house to create the right publicity for the film. 

Did his being the producer change your equation with him on the sets?

Vishal never came to the shooting spot as a producer; he was always the actor. 

During the shoot, there never was any hint of the producer.  It was only after pack up that he donned the hat of the producer and that too it was only with his manager and production people, never with me.


Image: Vishal in Naan Sigappu Manithan


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'The film is about an individual suffering from narcolepsy, a sleeping disorder'

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Tell us a little about the film.

The film is about an individual suffering from narcolepsy, a sleeping disorder.

It is a new concept and initially we were a bit anxious about how people would react.  But the amazing response to the trailer proved that people love it.

Naan Sigappu Manithan will definitely be a new experience for the audience.

What is the significance of the title?

Even while writing the script, I had this title in mind, but I was a bit hesitant.  My mind kept telling me that this title would be the most apt.

I spoke to my producers, who also agreed and eventually we got permission from Poorna Chandra Rao, the producer of the original Rajini starrer, Naan Sigappu Manithan.

This title has a dark shade to it, which I thought would be perfect for my film, which is also a revenge drama.

What inspired you to make this film?

Actually a friend of mine suffers from this disorder.  About five years ago, when I met him, I used to watch him sleeping all the time and this sparked the idea for a film. 

I felt it was a good commercial subject that could be made into a great film.

I researched everything I could about the disorder. No one had ever tried such a subject, so I thought why not give it a try, and started work on the script.

We have tried to keep everything as logical and as realistic as possible in the film.

 


Image: Vishal and Lakshmi Menon in Naan Sigappu Manithan


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'My greatest challenge was to portray the concept as naturally and logically as possible'

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What was your biggest challenge in the film?

My greatest challenge was to portray the concept as naturally and logically as possible. 

Vishal had to get the body language just right. All though the film there are many scenes in which he has to just collapse, even on the road and public places, where he could easily hurt himself.

This was a very important aspect of the film. If this appeared artificial, then the impact of the film would be totally lost.

Vishal has put in a lot of hard work for the film.

Tell us about Lakshmi Menon.

Once I narrated my script to Vishal, he suggested that Lakshmi Menon would suit the role of the female lead.

I needed someone with a girl-next-door kind of looks. Lakshmi Menon seemed just right. 

Also, the Vishal-Lakshmi Menon chemistry worked great in Pandiya Naadu.

 


Image: Vishal and Lakshmi Menon in Naan Sigappu Manithan


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'The lip-lock scene was not created merely as a publicity stunt'

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Is it true that to retain the much-talked-about lip-lock scene in the film, you agreed to the U/A rating?

The lip-lock scene was not created merely as a publicity stunt; it was a very essential part of the script. 

We did not want to remove the scene as we felt that it was crucial for the narrative. So we decided to retain it and go with the U/A rating.

Are you relieved that you have a solo release and do not have to compete with Kochadaiiyaan?

There is absolutely no question of any competition with Kochadaiiyaan.

If there were plans to release Kochadaiiyaan in the month of April, then we would definitely have postponed the release of our film. 

We would not even have considered the same month, forget the same date. 

A Rajini movie is a Rajini movie and nobody competes with it.


Image: Movie poster of Naan Sigappu Manithan


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