She is not perturbed that she didn’t have a single Tamil release in 2013, her earlier one being Sattam Oru Iruttarai in 2012. “I am not concerned about numbers. I am interested in doing roles of substance that will be remembered. Although quite a few scripts had come my way in 2013, Kootam was the only one which excited me,” says Pia Bajpai. Kootam is the story of a group of Naxals and their struggles against the police and politicians. Director M. Jeevan, who trained under Ram Gopal Varma, has realistically captured their plight. Naveen Chandra and Pia Bajpai play the lead. “I am at present completing a Malayalam film, Kelvi in which I play a college girl; the role is crucial to the storyline. Meanwhile, director Lakshmy Ramakrishnan (Arohanam) has offered me an interesting role in her next film. From the narration, I know that the character will be intense and that excites me. Lakshmy also informs me that the film will have many commercial elements but with her unique touch. I am looking forward to the start of shoot towards the end of this month,” says Pia.

Sets appeal

Set designing has reached a stage where it is difficult to find out the difference between the real and the created. Even sci-fi sets like the ones in Enthiran designed by Sabu Cyril were so realistic that they could be compared to some of the best from Hollywood. “Of course, the bigger the budget the better, as more sophisticated materials can be used to give the set a natural look,” says Arusamy, who trained under Sabu Cyril for five years, particularly when he was working on Enthiran. A Masters in Fine Arts from the Government College of Fine Arts, Arusamy’s talent was spotted and encouraged by Sabu. “This has resulted in my doing four Tamil films independently, but what’s most exciting is the period sets I created for director R. S. Prasanna’s forthcoming English film, based on the life of Swami Chinmayananda. I have created sets to resemble a jail, a police station and a newsroom, among others, all of which had antique furniture and fixtures,” says Arusamy. Confirms Prasanna, “Being a period film, spanning the life of the Swami from 1910 to 1980, it has been a challenge for Arusamy who has done some wonderful sets within a frugal budget. The movie is essentially meant for the festival circuit.”

Best of both worlds

Producer Kalaipuli S. Thanu’s son Kalaprabhu’s second directorial venture after Sakkarakatti is an action adventure featuring veteran Pratap Pothen in the role of a professor. The film, titled Indrajith, is somewhat on the lines of Indiana Jones with a group of fortune-seekers comprising hero Gautam Karthik, heroine Sonarika, Sudhanshu Pandey and theatre actor Amit. Says Amit, about his second outing in a feature film: “Although my first film is yet to release, I am excited that I am part of Kalaprabhu’s venture. I have a key role in Indrajith and I am sure this film will give me the right push for my career in the industry. I am even happier that I am part of the cast of Kalaprabhu’s next film which is also being produced by him.” Still very active in the theatre circuit, Amit is working on a play called Sleuth besides producing and directing three short films.