As Silambaattam gets ready to hit the screens, Silambarasan dwells on the effort involved. malathi rangarajan listens in
It’s been quite a while since Simbu has had a release. The launch of Kettavan and the shelving of it, the beginning of Poda Podi and the progress of Silambaattam have all kept him in the media eye, though his last big screen appearance was in Kaalai. But now he’s all geared up for the opening of Silambattam, envisaged as a December release.
“That’s true. My last film was Kaalai. But the problem is I get completely involved in every project I take up. So even with one film at a time my plate seems full,” laughs Simbu, when I catch up with him at four in the evening, the time when his ‘day’ actually begins! Like many young technicians in cinema today, Simbu works through the night and hits the sack at dawn.
The songs are making waves already. That’s nothing new because the Simbu-Yuvan combo has always clicked. ‘Where’s the party tonight?’ is a chartbuster, with FM channels going gaga over it. Simbu has written the lyric for the number. “That’s what I mean! I give my suggestions for the story, write songs, sometimes sing them, sit at the editing table like a technician and give my all to the film in which I’m hero. So I can’t but be a one-film-at-a-time actor,” he explains.
Despite so much effort, how does he feel when his film, Kaalai for instance, receives a lukewarm response? “I knew the result of Kaalai even before it was released. Once you realise the way a film is going, it isn’t difficult to predict what’s in store.”
Does he interfere a lot in the director’s work? “No way! When the maker comes to me with the story I tell him what I feel could be done about it. Once the discussion is over I just follow his instructions on the sets. Silambaattam is a script made with Telugu hero Chiranjeevi in mind. When Saravanan narrated the story, I liked the first half but the second I felt had to be worked on, because it suited a bigger hero and my doing it would be a presumptuous exercise. I told him so and in a week’s time he returned with a fresh second part which I liked. After that it’s been Sarvanan’s call throughout,” says Simbu.
Though Saravanan has proved his calibre as a cinematographer of more than a score of films, Silambaattam will mark his debut as director. “I liked his narration and watched him at work during the first schedule. And as we did spot-editing (Don Max) I knew how things were going. Soon I was convinced that Saravanan has it in him.
“If he had sounded like a cameraman-turned-director whose eye was more on aesthetics than content, I would have hesitated. But Silambaattam has the verve of a Dharani film. I generally look for characters that are a little different from the usual. Subtle and yet standing out!” he says, and quotes his clean-shaven pate in Manmadhan and his buck-toothed look in Vallavan as examples.
As far as music goes Simbu makes it clear to the maker that he would have a say in it. “I’m very particular because I want the songs to have a big reach and set the stage for the film’s release. And with Yuvan it has worked for me from Manmadhan to Silambaattam.”
But the initial announcement said Dhina would score the music for the film … “Yuvan was initially committed for Kettavan. I’ve sung for Dhina and I know that he has a way with fast paced numbers. But when Kettavan wasn’t happening immediately and I had Yuvan’s dates we decided to have him for Silambaattam.”
What was the need to lift a couple of lines from a number like ‘Nalamdhaana …’ (Thillana Mohanambal) for a fast-paced piece? “It wasn’t planned. When we try out various tunes we just put some words into them at random. We happened to use ‘Nalamdhaana …’ and it eventually got into the song along with a few lines from one of my father’s earlier films…” he smiles and adds: “It isn’t a re-mix. Only a small part of the lyric has been used.”
‘Kanal’ Kannan has choreographed the stunts for this predominantly action film. “Initially as a priest my fights have been conceived very differently. Later the body language and stunts change with the character. I’ve concentrated much more on action this time,” says Simbu.
Sneha, whose role has been kept under wraps to add to the suspense element and Sana Khan play the female leads. Silambaattam is Lakshmi Movie Makers’ 25th film and Simbu’s 11th. Says Simbu: “We’ve toiled at the shooting spot for 140 days, the songs are a sell-out and the film has shaped up well. Surely Silambaatam will not disappoint viewers.” Hopefully, neither will Silambarasan!