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Director Siddique has an amazing track record of making smash hit films. His latest venture in Tamil, Kaavalan has set the cash registers ringing in a big way.
The film stars Vijay and Asin. The film is a remake of Siddique's own Malayalam film, Bodyguard. He is also going to direct the Hindi version of Bodyguard with Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor.
The director talked about Kaavalan and more, in this exclusive interview with rediff.com. Excerpts:
How different is Kaavalan from its original (Bodyguard) in Malayalam?
The basic storyline and the innocence of the hero, which is the highlight of the story, has been retained. Of course, there are differences to suit the likings of the Tamil audience. The story itself has been told differently. We have an intense romance happening that goes through some thrilling twists and turns.Vijay's style is completely different from that of Dileep, who was the hero in the Malayalam version.
Have you added more dialogues and heroics to suit Vijay, considering his amazing fan following?
My focus has been to mould the character according to the story. We haven't added too many punch dialogues to suit Vijay's image and the efforts have been to make the whole film in an attractive way.
You have directed Vijay in Friends earlier. How different is he now?
His popularity, business potential and stardom have reached greater heights but he has not changed a bit as a person. He is absolutely passionate about movies and is completely focused on his work. He has a huge fan following not just in Tamil Nadu, but in Kerala too. This was evident while we were shooting Kaavalan at Varikkasseri Mana in Ottappalam. Hordes of fans were waiting for long hours just to get a glimpse of him. He is still the same shy person, who reserves all his energy for the camera.
You've been a highly successful director in Malayalam. How was your experience directing a Tamil film?
It has always been acknowledged that the atmosphere in Tamil sets is quite disciplined. I think the style of narration here is almost focused on the hero. The viewers generally come to the theatres to watch the hero and so the story has to be narrated in a way to suit his image.
Talking of trends, after a while the hero-heroine-comedian structure gets stale and that is when new experiments take place. No wonder, great experiments are happening in Tamil these days.
Are you directing the Telugu and Hindi versions of the film now?
Yes, the talks are going on. The Telugu version is in the offing and in Hindi, Salman Khan has liked the film and we have held discussions to start making the film. Kareena Kapoor plays the female lead.
You have been away from Malayalam for a while now...
[Smiles] There have been offers to remake my films like Godfather and Hitler in Tamil years back, but then my focus was Malayalam only. Later on I started thinking about the wider reach that the other language films have. More than the money, it is a great feeling for any artiste to reach out to a wider number of audiences. In Malayalam, I have projects with Mohanlal and Mammootty in the pipeline.
Your films became cult comedies in Malayalam. What do you think is the current trend in Malayalam?
Malayali viewers have turned their attention to other language films in a big way. But the interesting aspect is that if such a Malayalam film is made, they are hesitant to accept it. But a closer look can reveal certain amazing facts. Like for instance, the heroes in Malayalam never used to dance earlier. Of course, Mohanlal did dance but it was more his style than the conventional dance steps. But from now, the heroes in Malayalam will be required to dance well and also do the action sequences in a convincing manner. The Malayali audience tends to take some time before accepting new experiments.