SNEAK PEAK Yuvan Yuvathi is all set to hit the screens soon and its director GNR Kumaravelan says it will be a rip-roaring trip for viewers.
Being the son of veteran yesteryear filmmaker G. N. Rangarajan, probably creativity is in GNR Kumaravelan's genes. “I can't vouch for it but I can surely say that dad made me start from scratch, like any film aspirant,” laughs Kumaravelan, whose Yuvan Yuvathi will hit the screens on August 26. YY is his second film after the Prithiviraj-Priya Mani-starrer, Ninaithalae Inikkum.
But it's a good year and a half since NI happened! “Yeah, as my debut vehicle had serious stuff, I felt I should go in for a fun film next. I took time choosing the subject, and now I'm happy with the outcome,” Kumar sounds upbeat. Bharath and Reema Kalingal make the lead pair, with Sampath and Santhanam in significant roles. That after Raavanan Reliance returns to release YY could be an indicator of its viability.
Kumaravelan pored over several stories, but the moment he heard popular writer S. Ramakrishnan's one-liner, his search ended. “I was struck by the levity that marked it and immediately sat down to work on the screenplay,” he says. YY is a combination of Ramakrishnan's story and dialogue, and Kumaravelan's script and direction.
His NI, however, was a remake of the Malayalam film, Classmates. “When cinematographer Balasubramaniam introduced me to Gemini Film Circuit's Manohar Prasad, they had already decided on Classmates. But they gladly agreed to the changes I suggested for NI,” explains Kumar. And just like Balu helped me get my first break, Francis, another good friend in cinema, liaised for YY.”
Incidentally, Balu's assistant Gopi has cranked the camera for YY. “Save a song sequence in Rangeela, this is the first time that 50 per cent of a film has been shot in the Seychelles. The virgin locations with their aqua blue beaches are a connoisseur's draw. We couldn't possibly cart the entire baggage of equipment, but Gopi managed brilliantly with the bare minimum,” compliments Kumar. And like NI, Vijay Antony is the composer of YY. “The songs are chartbusters already,” he says.
What's the film about? “Father-son bonding primarily — generally such a premise is on serious lines, but here it is a rollicking sojourn. With Santhanam caught between the duo, and also between the lovers, YY will be rip-roaring trip for the viewer,” he promises. And who's the father? “Sampath! Makers will make a beeline for the smart, young-looking dad, once YY releases. Sampath has a lot of potential.”
Bharath's films haven't been great money-spinners in the recent past. “YY will change that for sure. I needed a guy who looks both rustic and suave at once because my hero hails from Usilampatti. But he works in an IT park in the city.
He prefers not to talk about his roots, but Santhanam won't let him be,” laughs Kumar. “Bharath filled the bill. And Santhanam plays a strong character that'll have you in splits.”
Reema Kalingal's portrayal in the Malayalam film, Ritu, impressed Kumar enough, for him to rope her in as heroine. “Reema has the girl-next-door look. Her performance will grow on you,” he says.
GNR Senior helmed 14 films in his heyday out of which nine had Kamal Haasan as hero! And that includes all-time hits such as Kalyanaraman and Meendum Kokila. Kumar has taken on the reins with loads of experience gained from working under his dad, Seeman and Kadhir.
Says Kumar: “But I see Kamal Haasan as my mentor. He still takes a genuine interest in my career. I was in Class XII when I began assisting my father and he would often enquire about my academic pursuits. Imagine my joy when he called me up in Ernakulam, where I was assisting filmmaker Thampi Kannanthanam, and said, ‘Meet me after you finish work there.'” Kamal then put him on to Balu Mahendra. “Balu Mahendra was impressed with my forays into photography. [As a seasoned lens man, Kumar has several international awards to his credit.] And I joined him as first assistant for the Kamal-Kovai Sarala laugh riot, Sati Leelavati.” Chances to work in Ladies Only, the Hindi version of Magalir Mattum, and in the making of Marudhanayakam followed.
“I'm proud to be a product of Raj Kamal Films,” he smiles. If YY lives up to the hype, Kumaravelan should make his mentor proud!