After the successful Engaeyum Eppothum, Murugadoss Productions and Fox Star Studios are set for the release of Vathikuchi

The A. R. Murugadoss-Fox Star Studios office in T. Nagar is teeming with people. In a huge hall with ethnic red oxide flooring and a dramatic staircase, office assistants are busy setting up the backdrop with a massive poster of Vathikuchi. Hero Dileepan is seen riding a bike in top gear. In a mild haze are more bikers in an intense mood. The film, set for release in early March, is the second venture by Murugadoss Productions and Fox Star Studios after the offbeat Engaeyum Eppothum. In a brief chat, the director talks about his objectives as producer, debut-making brother and the creative urges that underlie his work. Excerpts:

LIGHT IT UP Vathikuchi is an action-romance. The hero is a share auto driver operating in Chennai’s fringe areas. He is unwilling to be a mute spectator to the nefarious activities happening around him. He strikes with grit — so there’s plenty of action. Romance too is effortlessly woven into the plot. Anjali plays the female lead.

PARTNERSHIP MATTERS Tying up with Fox Star Studios is proving to be fruitful for both sides. We hope to identify deserving talent and bring them to the fore. Kislin who has directed Vathikuchi is a former assistant of mine. He came up with a good story and showed directorial promise. The idea behind the Murugadoss-Fox Star Studios tie-up is to produce quality films. Engaeyum Eppothum opened to encouraging critical and commercial response. After Vathikuchi, there’s the comic caper Raja Rani with Arya and Nayanthara in the lead. Plans are on to make a Hindi film too next year. The South has some of the most amazing creative minds. My dream is to provide greater exposure to directors and technicians.

SIBLINGS IN SYNC When we were doing the casting for Vathikuchi, Kislin suggested that it would be appropriate to have a new face play the lead. Being an action-based subject he said that Dileepan would suit the role because of his physique and rugged looks. My only advice to my brother was to be confident while facing the camera.

CREATIVE SPUR I’ve written a whole lot of short stories before getting into direction. Incidents from everyday life inspire me. I feel that when there’s the urge to create something different, there’s a surge of ideas. I’ve noticed that happen while writing scripts and directing. Every scene is a short story to me. It has a beginning, middle and end. If you have an appetite for creativity, it comes automatically.

CALLING THE SHOTS Thuppaki has done exceedingly well in India and abroad. The overseas collection is proof of actor Vijay’s continued spell over the audience. Whenever I cast a big star, I filter out whatever he has done before and try something refreshingly new. Vijay is known for his punch dialogue, riveting songs and ‘challenge’ scenes saturated with action. The film worked because it’s about subtle mind games and not over-the-top action.

BOLLYWOOD HO! This year, three of my films are being remade in Hindi. I’m remaking Thuppaki with Akshay Kumar in the lead. We hope to try different locations to make the film look different. We have already completed one schedule in Mumbai. The recognition that’s come to me post-Ghajini is incredible. Even for small roles, I have around two dozen established actors showing up for the audition! Stalin (my Telugu film with Chiranjeevi in the lead) and Ramana (a powerful film with Vijaykanth in the lead) are also being remade by others.