Debut-making director Badri Venkatesh talks about his upcoming release Baana Kaathadi.
There's a buzz about Baana Kaathadi. Quite naturally, because it's from director Badri Venkatesh who had proved his mettle even as a student, winning a national award for his 12-minute short film “Vidiyalai Nokki” (Awaiting The Dawn) in 1997.
Now, expectation soars, as the director makes his Kollywood debut with Baana Kaathadi, to be released in the second week of August. Don't get misled by the title; BK is not another kites film. “Kites form an important metaphor,” smiles the director.
The off-the-rails quality of the film is due to its fresh take on the city's sordid underbelly. “Films usually depict the so-called despicable localities of Chennai or Madurai in dark tones. Everything about these places is portrayed as being sleazy, dubious and unhappy. I've chosen to show the opposite. When we did a survey of North Madras, where the film is set, we discovered there was so much cheer among its residents. And the kites formed a superb symbol of the people's lives — restless, colourful and soaring with hope.”
Riot of colour
“A complete entertainer”, BK is said to have a mix of action, romance, comedy and foot-tapping songs. The icing, of course, comes in the form of some vibrant footage of the Gujarat kite festival. “Gujarat being the kite capital of the country, we shot some wonderful scenes there. One of the sequences features a 360-degree view of the sky from atop a high-rise building during the kites festival. The screen simply turns into a riot of colour.”
Talking about the film's music that's already created an impact, the director says, “Yuvan Shankar Raja carries no baggage. He is open to suggestions and always gives the directors a range of options. ‘Thaakudhae kann…' has already become so popular.”
About the lead cast, Adharva and Samantha (of Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa fame), Venkatesh says, “Though the debut-making hero is the son of yesteryear fame Murali, he is a grounded guy and can be moulded for any role. His typical boy-next-door look suited the tenor of the film. The best thing about the two protagonists is the fact that both attended an acting workshop for six weeks before commencing the project. It helped them shed inhibitions and rehearse for their roles thereby making the actual shoot much easier.”
Having taught at the Film and Television Institute of Tamil Nadu, Venkatesh says, he's “worked with some of the best and worst hands and learnt many lessons.” But full credit, he adds, goes to the producers, Sathya Jyothi Films, for giving him a chance to direct an offbeat venture. “There's so much new energy in the field of production. A new generation is emerging in production houses. And these youngsters are not afraid of experimenting with new faces, directors and subjects. All one needs is a proper script to take things forward.”