Director Pandiraj on his desire to make big-budget films and rope in the stars
On a small table in director Pandiraj’s office are several awards. The National Award he won for Pasanga, he says, is not on display. “I don’t want to be reminded about the award every day,” he says. For Pandiraj, the award is a thing of the past and he wants to move on; he wants to evolve. “I want to make big-budget films,” he says. This has led him to Kedi Billa Killadi Ranga, which releases today.
Pandiraj is going after a blockbuster that has eluded him so far. “I think Kedi Billa… Killadi Ranga will open the floodgates for me,” he hopes. Set in and around the scenic Ponmalai railway station, the film is a “full-fledged comedy laced with love and sentiment”. When it was clear that the film was going to be a comedy involving two main characters, Pandiraj floated the idea of signing Vemal and Sivakarthikeyan for the lead to those active in the film business. “Everyone liked the idea of bringing these two together,” he says.
Despite describing the story as ‘old wine in a new bottle’, Pandiraj is confident the film will work. How can he be so sure? “The film has several aspects that will appeal to the youth — a scene where friends drink, a scene where they make fun of girls and so on, but we’ve given it a new spin.” That spin, he believes, will be the refreshing aspect of the film. Pandiraj also assures us the comedy is not crass. “The film has been given a U certificate.”
It is evident from the conversation that the pressure to deliver a blockbuster has been steadily building up on the filmmaker, who is aware of being tagged as someone who can make films only with small budgets and lesser known actors. With Kedi Billa… he hopes to reinvent himself.
Does this mean Pandiraj will make films keeping in mind only box-office collection? “I am not going to give up making films like Pasanga. It is just that I will try to do both,” he assures us. As I prepare to leave, he tells me, “But, my next film will be with a star.”