Composer James Vasanthan turns filmmaker with Vaanavil Vaazhkai, a full-fledged musical
Music composer James Vasanthan is ready to take on a new role. In a dramatic move, the music maker has turned director and is already shooting his debut film titled Vaanavil Vaazhkai.
“It has been on the cards for a while,” reveals James, “I have always wanted to make a musical and was waiting for the right time to do it. This story, which is about life inside a contemporary city college campus, was on my mind for a while. I got down to penning the script a year ago and completed it in six months.”
When did this desire to direct take shape? “In Tamil cinema, there is no concept of a musical. When you use this word, it usually refers to the composer who has tuned the songs for the film. However, it is different in the West – it refers to actors who are actually singing and playing instruments.”
James wanted something like that for his project as well – so, he scouted for college children who had a musical inclination. “We picked up artists from college bands as well,” he says, “All the artists in this film are debutants and have never faced the camera before.”
Being a musical, Vaanavil Vaazhkai will have 19 tracks – yes, you read that right! James has composed all of them. “The last few months have been very hectic… I had to compose the tracks, write lyrics and arrange the recording sessions. All this while I was also tied up with my pre-production work... That is why I had to reduce the number of films I did as a composer,” he explains.
Did he do any homework on filmmaking before taking the plunge? “I don’t go by the basic grammar of filmmaking and nor have I assisted anybody,” he says, “I’m just making a film that I would like to see on screen.”
Currently shooting in the city’s college campuses, James hopes to release the film by the end of the year.
How does he think audiences will react to a ‘musical’ in Tamil cinema? “I was already doing well as a TV anchor when I ventured into music direction; at that time, people wondered why I was doing it. But when they heard my work, they accepted me. Similarly, I hope they’ll accept my work as a filmmaker as well.”