Watch | Hiphop Tamizha Adhi on ‘Veeran’: Heroes are not defined by their powers, but by what they do with them

Watch | In conversation with Hiphop Tamizha Adhi

Actor and composer Hiphop Tamizha Adhi talks about his upcoming superhero film ‘Veeran,’ using real-life metrics to gauge success, keeping his artistic appetite in check, and more

May 23, 2023 04:29 pm | Updated 06:30 pm IST

Hiphop Tamizha Adhi has a lot to look forward to. While his first superhero film, Veeran, is set for release on June 2, he is planning on producing more documentaries and will soon return to the director’s chair. In our interview we could not help but ask about ‘Vilambara Idaiveli’, his song from Imaikkaa Nodigal (2018) that is now going viral on Instagram Reels. “This happens quite often with my work. Last year, it was the ‘Kadhale Kadhale’ track from Indru Netru Naalai (2015). We break the rules and experiment a lot, and sometimes it gets noticed immediately while in other cases, it picks up when the time is right,” says Adhi.

Hiphop Tamizha Adhi.

Hiphop Tamizha Adhi. | Photo Credit: Johan Sathyadas

His next week’s release,Veeran, is Maragadha Naanayam maker ARK Saravan’s second film. . “I loved director Saravan’s first movie and we have known each other for a while and he wanted me to work on the music of this script a few years ago. Our tastes are similar; we love positive, happy stories with a takeaway. Veeran is a big film in all aspects and I think this is the right time for such a project,” says the composer-turned-actor.Veeran, Adhi says, was not only physically demanding to him, but posed many behind-the-scenes challenges. “You need a lot of money for a superhero film. The budget will be high only when we can cater to an extended market. This film is set in a remote village, so we shot on difficult terrains. I also had to train myself in horse riding. The film gave space for a lot of new experiences.”

Hiphop Tamizha Adhi with director ARK Sarvan.

Hiphop Tamizha Adhi with director ARK Sarvan. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Veeran, the story of a superhero with special powers, is a script that Saravan came up with a few years ago. Quite recently, we had another such hero in the form of Minnal Murali and Adhi says that they did think of any coincidental similarities. “In fact, the film was initially titled Minnal Veeran when the director wrote and registered this script right after Maragadha Naanayam. Saravan had mutual friends with Minnal Murali’s director and they spoke about the films, after which we realised that the stories are totally different. We changed the title as there’s more to the film. Mann saarndha, parambariyamana natar deivangal pathi pesura padam idhu. We cannot box it just under the superhero genre.”

Hiphop Tamizha Adhi in a still from ‘Veeran’

Hiphop Tamizha Adhi in a still from ‘Veeran’ | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Adhi feels there are many such stories lurking within Tamil culture, waiting to be translated into films. “Heroes are not defined by their powers, but what they do with those powers. What we often refer to as Ooru deivangal, kaaval deivangal, Karuppu saami, and Sudalamadan are our ancestors who have become deities now. People worship them as a sign of respect and not as higher beings. They are the superheroes from our history, culture and folklore. Veeran is based on one such deity.”

Interestingly, even when he has starred in only five films to date, Adhi has already done a biographical, a sports drama, a double-action subject, and now, a superhero film. “I’m not sure if I’m consciously keeping it different. As an artist, I would love my art to make a positive impact. I want the audience to have a good time watching my film. To satiate my artistic cravings, I do documentaries like Tamizhi and Thee Veeran.

Adhi wants Veeran to reach audiences across age groups. “My first three films didn’t cater to the family audience but my last two films — Sivakumarin Sabadham and Anbarivu — were specially for them. I measure the success of my films based on the feedback people give me when I meet and interact with them. That’s the real-life metrics. During the shoot of Veeran, I interacted with a lot of elderly folks which didn’t happen after my first three films. That’s when I thought I should try reaching everyone. The younger generation considers me to be one of them. They’ve trolled me as well as supported me. Namba paiyan appadinu feel panranga.”

Hiphop Tamizha Adhi in a still from ‘Veeran’

Hiphop Tamizha Adhi in a still from ‘Veeran’ | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

His last couple of films were not received well critically. “Those who’ve invested money on those films have gotten it back and that’s why I’m working with the same producer again for Veeran. All five films of mine that have come out are profitable ventures,” he saysadding that each film has its own target audience.

“Youngsters who enjoyed Meesaya Murukkuand Natpe Thunaimight not like Anbarivu because the target audience is families. The films I do are intentionally planned and the feedback I receive is taken into consideration. When we first came to the industry, we struggled to even get a stage to perform at; so, we are now taking it one step at a time and trying to do better with each project.”

Ask him how the metrics work for the indie songs he releases via his YouTube page and he says, “Indie music too is similar to the ‘Vilambara Idaiveli’ example we spoke about. It’s all about who we are doing those songs for and if they are connected to it. The ‘Sivakumar Pondati’ track was trolled when it came out but even now, it’s on my Spotify’s top five tracks. So, people are vibing to it.”

Adhi believes that there is a construct to these trolls. “There’s a demarcation on what’s good music and what’s music that one would listen to but won’t speak about. Some mainstream music directors still consider Gaana songs to be inferior. ‘Yaar Yenna Sonnalum’ (from his first film Aambala) was criticised but now it has become a quintessential family song. In the beginning, we wanted our songs to go viral and be heard. But over the years, we have learnt that putting out the art and being an artist is a gift.”

“That art might find its own form. Tamil rap and hip-hop were used as fillers in film music and background scores when we got into the industry a decade ago. It was used as an alternative for instruments. But today, rap and hip-hop have become a mainstream genre and rappers are popping up. It is similar to Kamal Haasan sir and his films like Anbe Sivam and Aalavandhan. We are learning from legends like him,” he concludes.

“Tamizhi ended with how Adichanallur should be excavated as there are lot more to be discovered from it. The current Tamil Nadu Government took steps to excavate the sites and they’ve found enough material to change the history of our country. They’ve also come up with a museum at Keezhadi. Now, they have started excavating artefacts from the Porunai civilisation which we’ve documented. We have learnt a lot of exciting information from it. Palasu vera, pazhamei vera. From history, we can learn how we can correct our future. We’re almost done with that documentary, but the problem is, it’s a never-ending process. Tamizhi took us three years and we travelled hundreds of kilometres. This year, we are also trying to compile a book of the same name. We have a separate unit called Tamizhanda movement that’s headed by Tamil researcher Elango who wrote Tamizhi. They, as a team, are constantly in search of such topics. I’m grateful to be able to back up such an initiative and in due course, gain knowledge.”Hiphop Tamizha Adhion his documentary ‘Tamizhi’

Veeran is scheduled to hit theatres on June 2

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.