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'I knew that my film Pizza would entertain people'

Last updated on: January 22, 2013 10:04 IST

'I knew that my film Pizza would entertain people'


Shobha Warrier in Chennai

Karthik Subbaraj's debut film, Pizza, released without any fanfare, but it turned out to be one of the most interesting films made in Tamil last year.

The film is so impressive that it will be remade in all the south Indian languages and in Hindi.

This software engineer from Madurai worked for some time in Bangalore and then in the US before turning film maker. Even while working as an engineer, he did a short course in film-making and started making short films.

When one of his short films got selected for a reality show on a Tamil television channel where he had to make short films in each round, he quit his job and joined the show.

He won the best director award and then he knew it was time for him to make a feature film.

In this interview, the young director Karthik Subbaraj talks about making Pizza.

Was it any pizza delivery boy who was the inspiration behind your film?

What we were planning to make was not this film initially; we were to make a small film in which the story takes place in a house. That way we thought we would be able to make a film on a very low budget.

Then, the idea of a pizza delivery boy getting stuck in a house came to our mind. That was the beginning. Slowly, it developed into a thriller.

Image: A scene from Pizza. Inset: Director Karthik Subbaraj


'It took me just 20 days to finish the screenplay'

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How tough was the entire making of the film?

It was planned to be a very low budget film, and one of my friends had agreed to fund it. We decided to make a film that is less than 90 minutes duration so that we could send it to various international film festivals.

But once I started writing the script, I felt the idea could be turned into a good commercial venture. Once the script was ready, C V Kumar liked the script and he immediately agreed to produce the film.

So, getting a producer for your first film was not that difficult?

I had written a few scripts before and I had taken them to many producers. I made some short films and then I thought I would make an independent film. It took me one-and-a-half years to get a producer for Pizza too.

You said the idea of Pizza just happened. How did it develop into a canvas like this?

It all started as a pizza delivery boy going to a house and getting stuck there. When we thought of making it a commercial venture, I added a few more characters.

It took me one week to finalise the story, and 20 days to finish the screenplay.

Image: A scene from Pizza

Tags: Pizza

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'The overwhelming response was far more than what we expected'

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Pizza turned out to be an unexpected success at the box office. Did you expect this kind of positive response from the audience and critics?

Somehow, I was positive that the film will entertain the people. I told the producer that no one would find the film boring. But the overwhelming response was far more than what we expected; it was beyond our expectations.

I saw the first show at a multiplex in Chennai and then went for the evening show at a single theatre. To my surprise, it was houseful when it was raining!

When the end approached, I was apprehensive about how the audience would react. Again, to my surprise, people clapped and whistled.

What do you think might have drawn the audience to a film made by an unknown director to make it houseful on the first day?

I think the songs and the trailer might have impressed the young audience. Also, I am sure they were the Facebook crowd as we were quite active on Facebook.

By night, I got reports from other parts of Tamil Nadu that the film was doing well and people were enjoying it. It was such a big relief.

Image: A scene from Pizza

Tags: Chennai

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'I have no reservations about working with stars'

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The remake rights of your film have gone to all south Indian languages and also to Hindi at a very high price. Was it unexpected?

I knew that the film would do well in Hindi as there is a lot of experimentation happening in Hindi. But I didn't expect it to be purchased at such a high price.

It was a pleasant surprise. It was director Bejoy Nambiar who bought the remake rights.

Now that Pizza is a big hit, expectations from your next film are huge. Does that worry you?

I don't look at it that way. I will not be thinking of anyone's expectations when I start making my next film. It shouldn't come to my mind at all as that thought will restrict my creative freedom. I still can experiment and make a film that I believe in. 

I look at it positively. When my next film releases, people will go to watch it as I have made a film like Pizza.

I assure youmy next film will be totally different from Pizza. I am writing the script and will start shooting within a month or two.

Will it also be with newcomers? Generally, once a film-maker establishes himself he goes for stars and established actors.

No, I am not after huge stars. But I have no reservations about working with stars. Of course, I would like to direct good actors and there are good actors who are stars.

Image: A scene from Pizza

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