Prabhu Raja Chozhan offers a sneak peek at Karuppampatti, his directorial debut, which is to hit the screens shortly

Director Prabhu Raja Chozhan takes as much pride in discussing the days he spent as an assistant to director Shankar as he does talking about his first film Karuppampatti, which is nearing completion.

“After finishing my degree in Philosophy from the Madras Christian College, I joined the film institute for a diploma in Film Technology. When I was on the verge of completing it, I got to know that director Shankar was looking for assistants. I was selected from among 150 who turned up for the interview,” he beams with pride.

Explaining what had made him stand out, he says, “Shankar wanted us to write a script in 15 days. I finished mine in four. I went on to work with him in Anniyan and Sivaji.

Prabhu’s Karuppampatti, portions of which have been shot in France and Italy, has an interesting plot.

“The story revolves around Kodhai Cacopardo, an NRI in France, who comes to a place called Karuppampatti in India in search of his roots. His mother is French and his father, Indian. Ajmal plays the lead along with Aparna Bajpai, who was one of the heroines in the Samuthirakani-starrer Easan. Both lead actors play dual roles,” he says.

Ajmal plays both father and son, while the mother’s role is played by an Italian actor called Alice Vergani. It took 85 days for the team to shoot the film, which included a 30-day schedule abroad.

Says Prabhu: “We shot for 20 days in France and 10 in Italy. The film features five songs, while the album has an additional one. Kannan of Tamil Padam fame has scored the music.”

Ask him whether he has shown the film to his mentor Shankar, and he says, “Not yet. I intend to screen it for him once the first copy is ready.”

What is the most important lesson he has learnt from the ace director? “The importance of hard work. While working on his films, Shankar would arrive in office before any of us did and would leave only after us,” says Prabhu.