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'Vettai is not an action film'

Last updated on: January 13, 2012 12:10 IST

'Vettai is not an action film'

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Shobha Warrier in Chennai

Lingusamy made his debut as a film director with Anandam in 2001, a family drama with Mammootty, Murali, and Abbas, among others. The film was a huge success.

His next film was an action thriller, Run, with R Madhavan and Meera Jasmine in the lead, which too was a success.

It was followed by Jii wth Ajith, Sandakozhi wth Vishal, Bheema wth Vikram and Paiyya with Karthi. His strike rate as a successful director has been impeccable.

This Pongal, Lingusamy is coming out with Vettai, a story of two brothers and two sisters. He has already been signed to remake the film in Hindi.

Will he strike gold with Vettai also? The director answers.

What was the inspiration behind making a film on two brothers and two sisters?

I was thinking of making an entertainer, one that will make people smile and cheer them up.

Here, I will have to tell you a story my mother told me when I was young. It was about a man who was scared of everything. Though that story and this film have no connection, the inspiration for Vettai was my mother's story.

I thought why not make a film on such a character. The inspiration behind the role played by Madhavan is that character. He was a man who, when he got beaten up as a young boy, would say, let my younger brother come, I will tell him. Usually, all boys speak about their older brother but this guy's protector is his younger brother. So, it all started there, with that one scene. 

After the older brother, naturally, the younger brother was added as the next character. When there are two men, you need two women. I thought, why not two sisters, like the two brothers? That was how the four characters came into being.


Image: A scene from Vettai. Inset: Director Lingusamy


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'Madhavan will perform beyond your expectations'

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Why did you make the elder brother a police officer?

To show the contrast. I thought, how would it be if I made a man who was scared of everything a police officer?

Last time you worked with Madhavan was in 2001 in Run. How did you think of him after a decade?

Madhavan is an excellent performer. If you give him a character, he will do it beyond your expectations. So, while thinking about the film and later on writing the script, I felt that if Madhavan were to do the comedy, it would be amazing. Also, if the audience was to feel how the character felt inside, you needed a good performer.

I approached Maddy and told him that if he wouldn't agree to do the role, I would not make the film.


Image: A scene from Vettai

Tags: Maddy , Run

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'I wanted to shock everyone with my casting'

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Why did you think of Arya whose image is not that of a strong man?

I wanted someone who can match Maddy. Arya has been looking for a total commercial entertainer as he hadn't done any such film till now. He felt this film would be the answer to that.

The highlight of the film will be the chemistry between Maddy and Arya. I still remember a film called Aan Paavam which had Pandiarajan and Pandian in the lead. The scenes between the two were the highlight of the film, and I still fondly think of those scenes. You will see such chemistry in Vettai between Maddy and Arya.

Vettai is not an action film. Nor is it a comedy film. There is no great story also in the film. But I assure you all the scenes in the film will be very interesting. Vettai is a film full of interesting scenes. That is how I have made the film.

So, do you visualise only scenes and not a story?

Yes, in my mind, only scenes come and not a continuous story. I feel there has to be some magic in the scenes to keep the audience glued to the screen for more than two hours. I like to be challenged that way. To me, more than the story, the scenes and making of a film are more important.


Image: A scene from Vettai

Tags: Vettai , Maddy , Arya

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'I don't like heavy subjects that make me think'

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Do you think films are only entertainers, that they must entertain the audience from beginning to end?

I look at films as an audience first. When I sit in a theatre, I like to be entertained. I don't like heavy subjects that make me think. So, I will make what entertains me.

Also, my tastes change. When I made an emotional family drama like Aanandam, my mindset and taste was that. Today, I am in such a frame of my mind that a film like Vettai only will entertain or satisfy me.

For a change, there is more comedy in Vettai. I don't like to have a separate comedy track but like to infuse comedy through my characters. I believe that comedy should be a part of the story and not a parallel track just to make people laugh. 

Sameera Reddy is seen always as a modern, urban woman in Tamil films. How did you think of her as a village belle?

I wanted to shock everyone through my casting. For her also, it was a new experience in Tamil. It was like presenting Rambha in a sari in Aanandam. I knew Sameera didn't know a word of Tamil, but I still wanted her in my film. That was more challenging.

Was it tough for her and you?

Yes, it was tough for both of us. I spoke to her only in Tamil and she didn't know any Tamil! But her performance and comedy timing were very good. It is a super character.


Image: A scene from Vettai


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'I haven't made an out and out commercial film'

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You are described as a successful commercial director. Do you like that label?

If you were to ask me, I haven't made an out and out commercial film. My films have been successful, yes. I have been called so seeing the films I have made so far. Nobody knows what kind of films I will make tomorrow. I don't like anyone putting me in a particular slot. It is not right. I have made an Aanandam and also a Paiyya.

What kind of a movie would you like to make as your masterpiece?

A film like Mother India. I like to have emotions in a film. Emotions are what take you close to people. In a film like Mother India, you have every emotion that you see in life. Dilwale Dulhania Leh Jayenge isalso my favourite.

Is it true that you are going to remake Vettai in Hindi?

Yes, talks are on. UTV Movies, our producers, plan to do it. It all depends on how the Tamil Vettai fares at the box office.

You must have been asked this question often, but how do you feel competing with a Shankar film also coming out at this festival time?

You are right. Everybody asks me this question. When I joined the film industry as an assistant director, he was making Gentleman. He is one successful director who has directed Kamal Sir and Rajni Sir. He is a perfectionist and works really, really hard. So, I know how he must have worked in Nanban.

I have also worked hard on Vettai. So, I am sure both films will work big time. I am not nervous about Vettai at all. I don't know with what expectations people will come to watch it. I hope that their expectations match my efforts!


Image: A scene from Vettai


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