S Saraswathi in Chennai
K Chandru makes his debut as a director in Tamil cinema with a ‘fantasy comedy’ entertainer titledNaveena Saraswathi Sabatham.
He has previously been associated with two huge box office hits. He assisted director C S Amudhan in his debut film Thamizh Padam, penning the dialogues as well as the lyrics.
He also worked as associate director on Venkat Prabhu's magnum opus, Mankatha.
The film was initially to be named Saraswathi Sabatham, but ran into some trouble and was renamed Naveena Saraswathi Sabatham.
K Chandru talks about this and other matters relating to the film.
Why were there problems with the title of the film?
Saraswathi Sabatham is the title of the 1966 cult classic starring the legendary Sivaji Ganesan.
The film was a huge success and is considered to be one of his most memorable performances.
We wanted this title for our film. But then some fans protested, so we decided to change the title to Naveena Saraswathi Sabatham.
Why were you so particular about this title?
We wanted the title because of its relevance to the script. It was not our intention to hurt anyone’s sentiments.
Is the film a remake of Saraswathi Sabatham?
No, it is definitely not a remake. Naveena Saraswathi Sabatham is a completely different film.
The film does have a The Hangover kind of feel, but the similarity ends there'
So what is your film about?
The film is fantasy comedy, revolving around four men played by Jai, VTV Ganesh, Sathyan and Rajkumar. They set out for Bangkok to attend a bachelor's party and land in trouble.
There is a fantasy element to the movie that we don’t want to reveal right now. We want to keep it in suspense. It will definitely be interesting.
The storyline sounds a lot like the Hollywood film, The Hangover.
After the trailer was released, people automatically started assuming that the film was a copy of Hangover.
The film does have a Hangover kind of feel, but the similarity ends there.
Tell us about the characters and their roles.
Even when writing the script, I had VTV Ganesh in mind for a particular role. I knew that only someone with his voice could do justice to this character. In fact, several scenes in the film have been written keeping this in mind.
He plays the assistant to a don, who is a Swarna Akka-like character (the terrifying villain from the film Dhool).
Jai plays the role of a doctor, while Sathyan is a politician and Rajkumar, an aspiring actor seeking a part in director Venkat Prabhu’s movie.
'The producers had full faith in my script'
And what about Niveda Thomas?
This is Niveda’s second film; she made her debut in Tamil cinema with the film Poraali in 2011.
She plays the character of a singer and participant in a reality show like ‘Super Singer’.
How did AGS Entertainment get involved in the project?
Through one of my friends, I approached Kalpathi S Suresh of AGS Entertainment. He liked my script and after a few discussions, the project was finalised.
It felt great working for them. They never interfered with my decisions, giving me total control over all aspects of the film, be it the cast, technicians or the location.
This is your debut project, so what impressed them about you?
The main criterion for them was the script and they had full faith in it.
Once that decision was made, they believed in extending their wholehearted support to the team.
They trusted my work and liked how the entire team worked together as one unit.
'I am confident that my film will do well'
Tell us about your association with director C S Amudhan and Venkat Prabhu.
C S Amudhan and Venkat Prabhu are two people whose work I greatly admire.
I had the opportunity to work in C S Amudhan’s debut film, Thamizh Padam. I was the associate director, dialogue-writer and also wrote the lyrics for a couple of songs.
Venkat Prabhu is one of my favourite directors. I love his style of making films; there is such a fun element to how he works.
Working with him during the filming of Mankatha was truly a memorable experience.
Did working with ace comedy directors inspire you to make a comedy film?
Comedy has always appealed to me. I believe that it is something that comes to me naturally.
This being my first attempt, I felt I should do something I know and understand.
Also, I enjoyed watching Hangover and wanted to do something along those lines. My plan was to give the audience the same feel-good experience.
We came up with an idea, teamed it with a fantasy element, and we had a great script.
Your film releases with two other much-talked-about films. How does that feel?
Two or even three films releasing together these days is no issue at all. If the film is good, the audience will not limit themselves to just one film.
I am confident that my film will do well.
Naveena Saraswathi Sabatham is a film that you can enjoy with your whole family.