Director R. Kannan has tweaked “Kanden Kadalai”, a remake of “Jab We Met”, to suit the local sensibility

When you have gone through seven years of ‘internship’ assisting someone like Mani Ratnam, you don’t expect anything less than a stellar performance. With the release of “Jayam Kondan” (JK) in 2008, first-time director R. Kannan proved he had arrived. Noticing the spark in Kannan, Moser Baer’s Dhananjayan promptly signed him up for the Tamil remake of “Jab We Met”.

But, Kannan had one condition — the script, as it is, would not appeal to the Tamil audience and some changes had to be made. “I told him that if we were to remake this into Tamil, some humour and a faster pace in the second half with less dialogue had to be incorporated. Thankfully, he saw sense in my recommendations and accepted them,” says Kannan. What was initially conceived with Dhanush and Trisha in mind ended up with Bharath and Tamannaah, when Kannan took over the directorial reins.

Consequently, “Kanden Kadalai” (KK) is peppier and caters to the Tamil sensibility, all the while sticking to the original storyline and the general outlook of the characters. “For instance, Tamannaah is from a large family in Theni. Bharath, of course, has undergone a complete makeover from his usual veshti-aruval look. ‘KK’ will prove Bharath is capable of playing the role of a suave, sophisticated youth,” says Kannan.

“KK” is like a journey through Tamil Nadu — Kannan filmed the story in every possible scenic location. “In keeping with the original, we have added a lot of background colour by shooting in locales such as Ooty and Kodai and in the Theni countryside. My favourite sequence is the one in which the couple jump into a lake while reminiscing about how they bathed as kids in a village pond. Deviating from the original where Shahid and Kareena enter a cave to change clothes, we built a tree house for Bharath and Tamannaah to romance,” says Kannan.

How was “KK” different from “JK”? “I wrote the story, script and dialogue for ‘JK’. I knew every inch of it, and directing the actors was a breeze. Whereas, I remade ‘KK’, adapting it to Tamil. Both Bharath and Tamannaah had seen the original. I had to wipe all that away from their minds for the film to have a Tamil feel. It was difficult, but was nevertheless a challenge. The end product is original, tailor-made for the Tamil audience,” says Kannan.

What next? “I want to gauge people’s reaction to it. I have got some offers, but haven’t thought about anything seriously. I would love to do a film which will cater to audiences of all age groups with some romance, humour, thrill and emotion thrown in — a well-balanced mix that is believable and sensible,” concludes Kannan.