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'I am very happy with the way Vanakkam Chennai has shaped up'

October 10, 2013 09:22 IST

'I am very happy with the way Vanakkam Chennai has shaped up'

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Shobha Warrier in Chennai

Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi, wife of Udhayanidhi Stalin (son of M K Stalin and grandson of DMK supremo M Karunanidhi) who owns Red Giant Movies, is excited as she maker her directorial debut with Vanakkam Chennai, which releases on Friday, October 11. 

Kiruthiga has earlier won the best director award at the Jaipur International Film festival for her short film, Life.

Here she talks about her film, Vanakkam Chennai, and the experience of making it.

 How do you feel now that your first feature film is releasing this Friday?

I would say, mixed emotions! I am really nervous. At the same time, I am also excited because two years of work will be there in the theatres for the audience to see.

I am very happy with the way the film has shaped up.

Are you worried about how it will be received?

I am not actually one of those who have watched it have given me good feedback and that has given me confidence. 


Image: Priya Anand in Vanakkam Chennai


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'I am a very romantic person at heart'

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Shobha Warrier

Did making a short film that won you an award give you the confidence to direct a full length feature film?

 Definitely. For someone who had no experience in filmmaking, the short film was like a first exam.

From where did you get the inspiration for the film?

I had a couple of scripts—a rom-com, a serious story and a tragedy. Those who heard all the stories preferred this over the others. So, I thought I would develop this story.

All the love affairs I know of, including my own, are between people who are totally different. I started thinking about two characters that are totally different, meeting.

I also wanted my first film to be a fun film. Also, a film with a lot of romance.

Are you a romantic person at heart?

Yes, I am. You will know how romantic I am by the film. My sense of humour and romance are the base of my film.

 


Image: Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi with Priya Anand in Vanakkam Chennai

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'I have shown my idea of how a woman should be in the film'

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Shobha Warrier

With Priya Anand and Siva, you have a very unconventional pairing.

Not only the pairing, their characters - Ajay and Anjali - are unconventional. Siva hails from a village, very naïve and shy, whereas Priya is very modern and a go-getter.

Many asked me whether I am a feminist. I would say I have shown my idea of how a woman should be.

Things that happen between them are quirky. Santhanam plays Narayanan and it is because of him that many twists and turns take place, and the story moves through him.

Why the title Vanakkam Chennai?

Ajay and Anjali travel to Chennai for the first time. Ajay comes by bus and Anjali by air, and they meet due to certain circumstances.

I thought Vanakkam Chennai is an apt title as it is in Chennai that all this happens.

Have you moulded them from real life characters, people you have met in college?

All those who have seen the film say that Ajay and Anjali are loosely based on me and Udhay.

There are other characters in the film who I have taken from real life people.


Image: A scene from Vanakkam Chennai


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'I used to prefer script writing to filmmaking till I made this film'

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Shobha Warrier

Was it after marriage and after your husband started Red Giant Movies that you got interested in films and filmmaking?

I was interested in film even before he produced Kuruvi. I had worked as a copy writer and then I had started a magazine. My interest was mainly in writing.

I started writing scripts as a hobby. That was basically because I was bored after marriage.

 What do you enjoy the most-- writing or making films?

I enjoy writing more. I used to prefer script writing to filmmaking till I made Vanakkam Chennai. Now I like both equally.

I had no plans to direct a film and I had no knowledge of filmmaking until some people told me that only I would be able to do justice to my script.

That was when I decided to direct my own script but I did a lot of homework before I started shooting the film.

Did you have anyone to help you?

My co-director Divyanathan who had worked with Mysskin before was a big support to me. He had worked with me in my short film too. He was a very big help to me. The entire team was helpful. 


Image: A scene from Vanakkam Chennai


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'I accepted a lot of inputs from many people for my script'

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Shobha Warrier

Did you visualise the entire film before you started shooting?

Yes, I did. I was travelling with the script for one-and-a-half years. During that time every day we used to discuss, write and rewrite the script.

I also narrated the story to many of my friends in the industry to get feedback.

Were you open to their feedback?

Totally. If you like Vanakkam Chennai, it is only because I accepted a lot of inputs from so many people. They were the audience for me.

As I wrote and rewrote so many times, when we started making the film, I was very clear about what I wanted.

Are you involved in Red Giant Movies?

They take into consideration my opinion on scripts and films as a representative of the female audience.

I used to read the scripts and watch the films with them. But I was not part of decision making. 


Image: A scene from Vanakkam Chennai


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'My husband is my biggest critic'

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Shobha Warrier

Are you looking beyond Vanakkam Chennai?

I will take a break after the release of the film and only then start working full time.

I am sure about one thing: for the rest of my life I will be writing and making films. I have discovered that films are my passion.

What kind of support did you get from your husband?

He is my biggest critic. He is a very hard to please husband. It took me a long time to convince him to produce my film. After that, he was very supportive.

It was very challenging for me to satisfy him. He is quite happy with the outcome.

Where will you be this Friday?

I will be going to all the theatres to see the audience reaction. 


Image: A scene from Vanakkam Chennai


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