Movies

A comical collision

Debutant GR Adithya, whose film Savarakathi is all set for release, tells of his experience directing Ram and Mysskin

Looks can be deceiving and debutant director GR Adithya (younger brother of Mysskin) is a perfect example of this notion.Behind his soft-spoken demeanour and serious expressions, lies hidden a humorous persona not many know of.

In this exclusive interview, he talks about the unique opportunity he had to direct two directors in his upcoming film, Savarakathi.

Adithya, who has been with Mysskin right from his debut film, says he learnt the craft from his brother. He worked as an assistant director in Anjathe, and was later promoted to co-director in Pisasu. “After Pisasu, I signed up with another company to direct a film, but that never took off. And last year, Mysskin mentioned a story he was writing and I liked the plot, and most importantly, the comic element in the narration. When I expressed my desire to make it into a film, he developed the story further, and even came forward to produce it,” he says.

As the title indicates, Savarakathi is the story of a barber. “It’s about a fictitious character, Pitchai Moorthy, who is a compulsive liar. What happens when he gets out of his shop and accidentally meets a convict – who is out on one-day parole – is the storyline. The story happens in a span of 12 hours.”

A comical collision
 

Speaking on why director Ram, known for his serious films, was chosen to play the role of Pitchai, Adithya says, I was keen on casting Ram sir, as his personality naturally lends itself to the unique character of Pitchai – an intense habitual liar with an innocent face. I wanted a combination of intense looks and innocence,” adding, “Even the role of the villain, Manga (Mangeswaran), played by Mysskin, has an undercurrent of humour.”

Directing two established directors as actors must have been pretty tough for his debut film as a director, but Adithya enjoyed the experience. “Directing two stalwarts was a big challenge. But both of them were accommodative, and would politely point out if I made a mistake. They gave me a lot of freedom, and were patient enough to take as many retakes as I requested.” Ram had, in fact, injured his left leg during a stunt sequence. “The painful expression that you see on Ram sir’s face during the fight scenes is real as he was in absolute pain when the shoot was going on.”

A comical collision
 

The character of the barber’s wife, Subadhra – played by Poorna – is actually based on Adithya’s mother. Prior to the shooting, Poorna attended a ten-day training conducted by Adithya, to not only understand the role of Subadhra, but also to speak the Sivaganga slang and imbibe a certain body language. “I had derived the character of Subadhra based on my observation of my mother. Though Poorna was unaware of the culture and background of the character she was portraying, she picked up the nuances and agreed to play the role of Pitchai’s hearing-impaired wife, who is pregnant, says Adithya.

Explaining the homework he did before commencing the shoot, Adithya says, “I have the habit of reading the script out loud. I then enact each scene with the dialogues. I play all three characters and record it. This helps me understand the depth of the characters and assess dialogues. At this stage, I refine the script and fine-tune it to perfection, and only then hand it over to the artists.” Every director has a method of refining their script, and his method is what he learnt by observing his brother. “Mysskin painstakingly and meticulously refines his script. “Vagueness or inaccuracy won’t work, be it in the script or camera angles,” adds Adithya.

Manga, the villain

A comical collision
 

Savarakathi is fictional, but largely inspired by a real-life character I have closely observed during my childhood. I vividly remember the local barber Pitchai, who used to give his opinions on everything — from world to local politics —to his customers. He was also a habitual liar. When I became a writer, I realised that he was one of the most interesting people whom I had secretly admired. The barber in Savarakathi is based on this barber’s character. — Mysskin

Pitchai, the barber

A comical collision
 

 

 

“When Mysskin first approached me to play the comical role of Pitchai, I refused. Apart from not having the confidence to do such a role, I was also worried about the image that both Mysskin and I had — that of serious filmmakers and intense actors. But later, when I met Adithya and listened to the narration, I changed my mind. Interacting with Mysskin and Adithya has always been fun, and as I observed Adithya, I decided to cast him as Mammootty’s younger brother in my film Peranbu. — Director Ram

Adorable Subadhra

A comical collision
 

I have fallen in love with the character I portray in the film. I am sure Subadhra will be an unforgettable and endearing character, and live in the memory of the audience for a long time. Although I was initially apprehensive of playing the role of a full-term pregnant mother of two kids who is hearing impaired, I accepted it later. Adithya would beautifully enact the scenes, and I would just imitate him. The character is based on his mother, so he could give me so much detailing. I struggled to get the proverbs (dirty ones though) in a specific tone, but with practice I got them right. — Poorna

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 3:59:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/A-comical-collision/article16374414.ece

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