Director Sripathy on the making of his first film Kanimozhi and his exposure in the field of cinema

Imagine, Rocket Singh girl Shazahn Padamsee being launched here in a film that has the chaste Tamil title, Kanimozhi! The incongruity is too striking to be ignored.

Did the maker plump for it because it is a well-known name? Director Sripathy Rangasamy doesn't evade the poser. “Yes, that's also a reason,” he grins sheepishly. “But that's not the only one. And, if you think Shazahn is called ‘Kanimozhi' in the film, she isn't.” His cryptic reply evokes curiosity. All the same, doesn't such a name warrant a heroine who can speak the language? “Do you think I didn't try? Finally, it was a model co-ordinator in Mumbai who sent me Shazahn's pictures. Though I'd seen her in Rocket Singh, it was the headshots that did the trick.” Her parents, Alyque Padamsee and Sharon Prabhakar, were impressed with the script and soon Shazahn was on board Kanimozhi. “She is also doing Orange in Telugu, with Ram Charan Teja. And as far as the language goes, Shazahn is a theatre person. She doesn't have reams to learn and she's managed beautifully,” says Sripathy.

That a formidable production house (Amma Creations) is backing Kanimozhi augurs well for first timer Sripathy. An interest-kindling cast that has Jai is another such. How did he pull it off? “I worked as Venkat Prabhu's associate for his Chennai – 600028 and Saroja. That's when I got to know Jai. He's an actor with tremendous potential. I wanted a hero who looks 21, and Jai is the best bet,” says Sripathy. “He has a lot of potential. As for the heroine, she has to look angelic. Shazahn is just that.”

It was SPB. Charan, who put Sripathy on to the right people, helped him gain exposure in the field and paved the way for a promising career. “I owe it all to him. He groomed me,” says Sripathy. From a student of visual communication from Coimbatore, who initially opted for the course only because he could escape studying Mathematics, to a filmmaker on the threshold of a promising career, the going has been good for him. “In the first year in college, I decided to concentrate on cinema.” Siva of Amma Creations booked Sripathy for his next project even when the shooting of Saroja was going on. “It was Venkat Prabhu who recommended me to Siva,” says the young director.

The film has been shot with live sound. “It's much costlier than dubbing a film later. A special (silent) camera has to be used. I felt Kanimozhi warrants it and my producer Siva allowed it. Sync sound recordist Anandar Chandrahasan (of Provoked fame) is on the job.” Live sound with a non-Tamil heroine? “Her lines alone have been dubbed,” Sripathy informs.

Sakthi Saravanan's associate P. Chidambaram cranks the camera for Kanimozhi which has been shot entirely in Chennai. With live sound to tackle, the proposition ought to have been quite a task. “But it has been worth it,” smiles Sripathy.

Satish Chakravarthy has scored the music for Kanimozhi. “Within 10 minutes of our meeting, I decided Satish will be the music director.” The audio, released recently, has been mastered in the U.S.

Sripathy wrote the script of Kanimozhi when he was in college. “Several story ideas keep cropping up in my mind. My inspirations have always been from within me. I don't look for them outside,” he laughs.