G.N.R. Kumaravel makes his debut as director with Ninaithale Inikkum, a remake of the Malayalam hit, Classmates

Remember K. Balachander’s Ninaithale Inikkum, starring Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan? Now, after three decades, it’s time for another film of the same name, the Tamil version of the Malayalam hit, Classmates.

G.N.R. Kumaravel, son of well-known filmmaker G.N. Rangarajan, makes his directorial debut with the film.

Rangarajan had directed hit films such as Kalyanaraman, Meendum Kokila and Kadal Meengal. Kumaravel talks about Ninaithale Innikkum and his experience while making it. Excerpts from an interview:

Why did you choose to make your debut with a remake?

Well, I did want to start off with my own script. But I was offered Ninaithale Innikkum and I have worked hard on the script to make it my own. I saw the original only twice, and by the time I started shooting I distanced myself from it. However, I retained what was needed for the Tamil film.

What are the film’s highlights?

The screenplay, apart from the technicians’ work.

How different is it from the original?

The screenplay has been changed. However, I have kept to the original version for two very important scenes — because any modification would have altered the very soul of the movie. Usually, the audience feels a remake can never match the original. I will consider my screenplay a success if people find my film more enjoyable than Classmates.

Does Priya Mani have a meaty role here?

Ninaithale Inikkum demands a mature, courageous female lead. I felt Priya Mani would fit the character.

Prithviraj claims to have followed your directions in toto.

Prithviraj starred in the Malayalam film and so it was natural for him to have some doubts. And, I have always been open to his ideas and agreed with them if convinced.

How has Vijay Antony’s music shaped up?

Antony is known for his energetic beats and vocals; he has also sung two numbers. They required his kind of style. The film also has soothing melodies, apart from a splendid background score.

Tell us something about your cinematographer Balasubramanian.

Balasubramanian has done some marvellous work, including Pithamagan and Azhagiya Tamizh Magan. We had a great time during the shooting. He is a good friend and so we have no ego problems. I sit with him for the colour grading work. Basically, this film is all about team work.

Did your father advise you?

He taught me how to behave, how to respect seniors, be humble and to treat success and failure with equanimity. I will continue to work hard. For me, directing a film is not just a profession, but a passion.