Stellar cast, plenty of action, well-etched characters… filmmaker Vishnuvardhan gets talking about his Arrambam, which is nearing completion. Udhav Naig listens in

The long-awaited announcement that Ajith’s multi-starrer is to be titled Arrambam has come at a time when the film is almost complete. The immediate question that arose after the announcement was what did this “beginning” refer to? “We didn’t want an extravagant title. I could have just named the film ‘Thala’, but I knew it would focus too much on the star and not on the film. That’s why I zeroed in on Arrambam (‘Beginning’ in English),” says the film’s director, Vishnuvardhan. This 'beginning' refers to the ordinary man’s fight against an important issue in society. Declining to state what the issue is, the filmmaker simply says it is ‘a fictional story based on a real incident’.

The phenomenal success of the filmmaker’s earlier collaboration with Ajith, Billa, which showcased the actor as a stylish gangster, could not have made things easy. What frame of mind was Vishnuvardhan in before starting to work on this film? “Obviously, I didn’t want to repeat the style and treatment of Billa. There are no black coats, sunglasses or ramp walk in this film. Also, Arrambam isn’t a gangster flick. While Billa was basically old wine in a new bottle, this film has action in its DNA. I have given it a contemporary touch,” says Vishnuvardhan.

Strong characterisation

Despite the fact that this is an ‘Ajith Kumar film’, one can’t help but notice its stellar cast: Ajith, Nayantara, Arya, Tapsee, Rana Daggubati, Mahesh Manjrekar, Atul Kulkarni… How difficult was it to write a script to justify their presence in the film? “Even as I was writing the script, I found that each of these characters gradually grew stronger. That is how Arya, who plays a hacker in the film, was roped in. None of the actors in the film play trivial characters. Every character has been so designed that if removed from the script, the film will fall apart,” he explains. The film’s speciality, says Vishnu, lies in the way it unfolds in a non-linear fashion. “The characters come with multi-layers that peel off as the story evolves,” he says.

Can fans expect to see a different side of Ajith in this film? “Indeed. You will notice that his energy level has gone up. He has no inhibitions as an actor. He is someone who will do anything if the character demands it,” he says.