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'Mugamoodi is not a Superman or Batman'

Last updated on: August 13, 2012 12:40 IST

'Mugamoodi is not a Superman or Batman'

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Shobha Warrier in Chennai

One of the most eagerly awaited films of 2012 is Mysskin's Mugamoodi, produced by UTV Movies.

Having contributed significantly to Tamil cinema by making films like Chithiram Pesuthedi, Anjathe, Yudham Sei and Nandalala, the director has moved to a different space altogether--the story of a superhero.

Mysskin talks about Mugamoodi in this interview and stresses that his superhero is not Spiderman or Batman or Superman. It is the story of an ordinary man who desires to be a super hero.

Mugamoodi is about a superhero. When writing and making the film, were you replaying your childhood fantasies?

I was. Not just my childhood fantasies, but my childhood comic fantasies.

It was a lingering dream of mine to make a film like the comics I have read. Only after my fourth film could I realise my dream.

If you have read superhero comics, you will know what happens between one frame and another. For example, in one frame you will see a man with a knife and in another, a man gets stabbed. You may not see the man stabbing the other guy. I felt it was the best way of making a film.


Image: Movie poster of Mugamoodi. Inset: Director Mysskin


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'According to me, the best films are the silent films'

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Would you say comics are your initiation into movie-making?

It was the rite initiation, I would say! In many tribal families, there is an initiation ceremony and comics did the same for me.

When I started reading comics, it took me to a world where both my fantasies and imagination were kindled.

When you first visualised this film, did the frames appear like in the comics?

There are many ways to write a script. In my case, I must have some image in my mind, otherwise I will not be able to write.

In fact, I don't write, I draw.

Script writing is actually visualisation of the images in my mind. It is not the text that is important but images.

Images move from one frame to another, and unless it is necessary, there are no words. That is why my characters do not talk in flawless language. I believe in movement and action and not dialogues.

So, for you, films are truly a visual medium...

It is the only medium where you can show moving images. I consider movies as truly a visual experience.

That is why, according to me, the best movies are the silent films.


Image: A scene from Mugamoodi

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'I became a film-maker to make my comic fantasies real'

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As a child, were you fascinated by superhero comics?

Naturally. I don't think there is any boy in the world who is not fascinated by superhero comics. It is the dream of every boy to be a super hero. It is the projection of the other identity of every boy.

When did you realise that you had to make a film on a superhero?

I became a film-maker to make my comic fantasies real. I wanted to see my comics and comic characters big and on the big screen, that too at night.

Even today, I read comics and now, I am into Japanese Manga comics.

Do you believe there is a superhero in every person?

Yes, I do believe that. When a rickshawallah helps an old man to cross the road, he becomes a superhero.

My idea of a superhero is very simple. When a man does something which an ordinary person does not think of, he becomes a superhero.

It is not adventure, it's a simple act. A superhero is not the one who jumps skyscrapers; he is the one who is courageous and self-driven, he does his work in less time.


Image: Movie poster of Mugamoodi


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'I decided to shape my superhero on the basis of Rama, Arjuna'

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Why, then, did you give a mask or a mugamoodi to the ordinary man?

The mugamoodi is something to show when a normal man becomes a superhero. While shooting the film, I was telling my crew that in Hollywood films, behind a superhero there will always be a skyscraper, but when I compose a scene for my superhero, I can see only a neem tree.

Why a neem tree?

Because it is everywhere. We were shooting the film in the first floor of a house and when I asked my hero to walk, I could see a huge neem tree behind him.

The neem tree looked so majestic, in fact, more majestic than a skyscraper. I cannot have a skyscraper behind him, for sure.

I am very clear about one thing: I am not making a Superman or a Spiderman--I am making a Mugamoodi. My super hero is a simple, ordinary man and he becomes a superman on a railway platform. That is where he realises that he has to stop those who do wrong things.

Why did you give him a mugamoodi when he does extraordinary things?

No, he is not doing an extraordinary thing. He has to come out of a tangle and to hide himself he needs a mugamoodi. So, he hides himself in a black dress and a mask.


Image: Movie poster of Mugamoodi


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'I have not included any computer graphics in the film'

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Did you have to think a lot to design the costume?

Yes, we had to think a lot. In our epics, there are many superheroes. I decided to shape my superhero on the basis of Rama, Arjuna, etc and not on the Hollywood superheroes.

Audiences will go to the theatre expecting another Spiderman, Superman etc. So, I have to strike a balance while designing the dress.

There is a grandfather, a loony scientist in the film, who with the help of his neighbour designs the dress. In fact, the grandfather is a kind of mentor to this guy.

When he dons the costume, does he act like a superhero?

He has to act like a superhero but he does not have any super natural powers. He is basically a martial arts guy. So, he uses his physical and mental power to overcome everyone. More than that, he believes in what he has to do.

Did you ask Jiiva to learn martial arts?

The first thing I told Jiiva when I met him was that he had to take training in martial arts. He laughed and said that he had been undergoing martial arts training for the last eight years!

Another thing... I have not included any computer graphics in the film as I abhor it.  


Image: Movie poster of Mugamoodi


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'Mugamoodi means mask'

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Does that mean all the action in the film is done by Jiiva himself?

Yes, everything by Jiiva himself. We have Tony Leung, a very important fight master from Hollywood who has choreographed all the fights.

Jiiva performs the very specialised martial art, Wing Chun, in the film.

How did you decide on the title Mugamoodi?

Mugamoodi means mask, something to cover your face. I wanted to make this film for the last five years, and I was so fascinated by the name that every year I used to go and register the name so that it remained with me.

Why did you take so long to make the film?

I needed a producer who was willing to pump in money for a project that needed a big budget like this.


Image: Movie poster of Mugamoodi


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I just want my audience to be there in the theatres

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It was reported that most of the movie was shot at night. ...

Ninety per cent of the movie was shot at night as a super hero roams only at night. He will be a normal guy in the day and turns super hero at night.

So, how many sleepless nights for you?

More than 90 days. Now, days have become nights and nights have become days!

You say Mugamoodi is not like Superman or Spiderman but people expect a superhero to be like that. What will you tell them?

I am yelling to everyone--please do not come to the theatre to watch a Superman from Hollywood! This is a movie by Mysskin from Chennai.

I just want my audience to be there in the theatres. I am confident that in 10 minutes, I can draw them to my film.

 



Image: Movie poster of Mugamoodi


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