Meet Chimbu Devan who revels in making films with the right dose of humour including his forthcoming Oru Kanniyum Moonu Kalavaanigalum
A close look at director Chimbu Devan’s filmography would reveal that his films are delightful hybrids in which comedy is fused with the unlikeliest of genres: Imsai Arasan 23 am Pulikesi (historical fiction comedy), Arai En 305il Kadavul (fantasy comedy) and Irumbu Kottai Murattu Singam (Cowboy).
With the filmmaker’s fourth film, Oru Kanniyum Moonu Kalavaanigalum, starring Arul Nidhi, Bindhu Madhavi and Arshitha Shetty, falling under the label of ‘romantic comedy’, one can be sure that the filmmaker is in no mood to let go of the genre. “There is still a lot to explore within comedy itself,” he points out. The filmmaker is comfortable with comedy because it comes naturally to him. Chimbu Devan’s stint as a cartoonist, he says, defined his interests, “Working as a cartoonist, I understood what needs to be highlighted and enhanced to produce the desired effect. Comedy is also about keen observation. Anything can be turned into a comic situation if we give it the right punch,” he says. Unlike his earlier films that dabbled in fantasy, Oru Kanniyum… is rooted in reality. “The setting is contemporary. The film deals with the life of the urban middle class and focusses on the issues that affect them. The message, I would say, is about how we shouldn’t give up what we rightfully deserve,” he says. Someone who has left Madurai and made Chennai his home, Chimbu Devan says that the film features all the quintessential characters found in Chennai. “The just-finished-college youngsters, secretary of an apartment, a watchman… all populate this film’s world. Urban middle class life has been explored with liberal dose of comedy.”
How difficult was it to direct actors who are young, inexperienced and not comfortable (some) with Tamil? “It is difficult only when you are confused and not clear about what you are doing. For all my films, I do the story board myself. Once I am clear and I communicate my ideas to the actors, it becomes very easy irrespective of whether they know the language or not.” And how did he think of casting Arul Nidhi? “I wanted someone who looks like he has just finished college.” The most challenging scene to shoot was a parkour-style chase sequence on top of buildings in Saidapet, he says. When he is bored with comedy, what kind of films does Chimbu Devan wants to make? “I watch all kinds of films, thrillers are my favourite. I also like satire a lot.”