Soundarya Rajnikanth Aswin, who was recently in the Capital, talks about her debut film “Kochadaiiyaan”, directing her superstar father Rajnikanth, animation movies and more etc

In the midst of commercial films an animated movie always attracts attention of the audience and a well made one is a treat to watch for young and old alike. Next month India’s first performance-captured period film “Kochadaiiyaan” is set to release world-wide in Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Japanese, Bhojpuri, Bengali, Marathi, Punjabi and English languages.

The film is the directorial debut of Soundarya Rajnikanth Aswin, younger daughter of superstar Rajnikanth, who studied multimedia graphic designing in Australia. Exposed to the film industry since her childhood, she says that “it was quite natural” to follow her father's vocation, adding that animation always attracted her. Though she received a number of offers to play the lead roles, she confesses, “I always wanted to be behind the camera because I knew I was creative. I rather call the shots than take directions.”

Soundarya, who keeps herself abreast with the latest development in animation technology world, says that the journey of making the film was a difficult one; the reason being that performance-captured concept isnew to India and it took a lot of time to convince all those connected with the film— producers, technicians, art directors, etc. “I took up something which has never been done before,” says the director.

The film starring Rajnikanth, R. Sarathkumar, Aadhi, Deepika Padukone, Jackie Shroff among others, was completed in two years. Asked how it was to direct her father the director says: “I loved the experience. I did all my homework and God gave me the confidence to go ahead.” She added that at times she ordered “action” and forgot to say “cut” being so mesmerised by her father's performance. Terming him a thorough professional, she says that she did not face any difficulties, rather enjoying the whole project.

Soundarya feels that the market and audience for animation is vast in the country and there is an abundance of stories to be tapped from Indian mythologies, legends, myths, folk and local stories as well as true life stories of kings and queens. “In fact the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata have several built in stories which can be animated,” says Soundarya. She cites the example of “Ponniyin Selvan” a seven-volume story by Kalki based on which she hopes an animated film in the future. “I have been listening to the stories on the audio book and am fascinated by them,” she adds.

According to Soundarya, the budget and the time line for production are the reasons for the perceptible difference between the Indian and foreign made animated films. She gave the example of “Avatar” released in 2009 which broke several box office records, took eight years to complete. She was categorical that two factors are very important for the success of an animation film – story/script and music – and in case of her movie is confident as the former is by K.S. Ravikumar and the latter by renowned composer A. R. Rahman. The director was in the Capital to receive the NDTV Indian of the Year Award for Technical Innovation in Film.