First-time director Subu on the making of Sutta Kadhai

In 2007, a group of movie buffs studying architecture while holidaying in Kodaikanal discussed storylines of various movies. One of them came up with a murder mystery storyline. That student is director Subu, and that story has now evolved into a feature film, Sutta Kadhai, starring Balaji, Venkatesh Harinathan (Venky), Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli, Nassar and M. S. Bhaskar.

After his graduation, Subu followed his dream of becoming a filmmaker and started to write lyrics, assist directors and even made his own short film — Saloon Diaries. “I had the story of Sutta Kadhai for a long time, and when I shared it with one of my friends from the industry, I was told that I should make it into a feature film. That gave me the confidence to make a movie,” says Subu, who has assisted renowned director-cum-actor and National film awardee Prathap K Pothan in one of his ad films.

Subu began looking out for a producer, cast and technical crew last year. However, coming from a non-film background, and this being his debut in Kollywood, it was difficult for this ambitious director to get a producer. “I met Ravindar Chandrasekaran, an NRI, through a common friend. He was very supportive and agreed to produce my movie.”

A dark comedy

Sutta Kadhai, a dark comedy, set in a fictitious hill station, revolves around a murder mystery and how two cops get caught in it. And what sets his film apart from dark comedy movies such as Soodhu Kavvum, Neram, and Moodar Koodam that released earlier this year? Subu says that although the movie has elements of dark humour, the movie is experiential and does not follow a particular genre. “Sutta Kadhai is going to be my signature movie. It is unique with regard to the story approach and characterisation. The industry has received the trailer well, so I hope for the best,” he says.

The first-time director has introduced in his film many newcomers —Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli of Dharmayutham fame, Venky, a theatre actor from Stray Factory and Madley Blues, a music production unit. However, he strongly feels that having a new team will not affect the movie’s popularity quotient. Citing Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom, which had all newcomers but was well-received, he says, “We looked out for new faces with a strong theatre background, who are well-versed in Tamil. I am happy that Madley Blues is coming up with music of all genres.”

Apart from directing, Subu has been involved in writing the lyrics for the songs in the film. The director, who had written the lyrics for Aarohanam, has penned the lyrics for five songs in Sutta Kadhai. “I enjoy writing. It was enriching to write the songs for my own movie,” says Subu, who has also written lyrics for the music band Oxygen.

And what about acting? “I am open to acting in someone else’s movies. If the need arises, I may just do a cameo in mine. But my focus is on direction,” says the director, whose role models are K. Balachander, Venkat Prabhu, Singeetam Srinivasa Rao, Saran, Coen Brothers, Woody Allen and Tarantino.

With excitement, Subu confesses that the biggest asset of the movie is veteran actor Nassar, who plays the role of a senior inspector.

Subu recalls, “He was extremely patient and helpful.” So what kind of genres would this budding director treat cinema lovers to in the future? “I have many scripts in my head. My dream is to cast Rajinikanth and Al Pacino together in one movie, and I have the script ready,” he signs off.