Ilaiyaraaja: Vetri Maaran’s ‘Viduthalai’ is unlike anything you’ve seen in Tamil cinema

The cast and crew of ‘Viduthalai’ came together for the audio launch of the film which was launched by the film’s composer Ilaiyaraaja

Updated - March 10, 2023 01:46 pm IST

Published - March 09, 2023 07:04 pm IST

The cast of crew of ‘Viduthalai’ at the film’s audio launch

The cast of crew of ‘Viduthalai’ at the film’s audio launch | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Director Vetri Maaran’s Viduthalai Part 1 is all set for release and with music by the legendary Ilaiyaraaja, an audio launch was definitely on the cards. Lady Andal school’s Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall was packed with fans of the cast and crew of Viduthalai. Apart from the director and the composer, the film’s leads Soori, Vijay Sethupathi, and Bhavani Sre were in attendance along with the rest of the crew and cast members.

Ilaiyaraaja, who spoke first, said, “The premise of Viduthalai will be completely new to Tamil cinema. Vetri Maaran films are like waves that relentlessly hit Tamil cinema one after the other and are so different from each other. He’s an important director in the film industry, and this comes from someone who has worked with hundreds of directors in a career that’s completed 1500 films. You will listen to music that you haven’t experienced before in Viduthalai .”

The film’s producer Eldred Kumar of RS Infotainment said, “Viduthalai is a 10-year journey, and I am glad that this dream has come true. I thank Suresh Balaji sir for letting us allow the title which was earlier a Rajini sir film’s title. Vetri Maaran sir is a treasure to the Tamil film industry. Ilaiyaraaja sir keeps ruling our hearts and despite being around 80 years, his energy, dedication and hard work have not faded. Soori has sacrificed a lot of projects for this film and was constantly on diet for a couple of years to retain his physical look. This film will elevate him to the next level in the industry.”

Viduthalai will also mark the acting debut of director Rajiv Menon who called himself “an accidental artist.”

“I kept rejecting the offers I had gotten all these years but Vetri Maaran’s confidence and conviction got me to be a part of this project,” he said. The film is based on a short by writer Jeyamohan who said, “Vetri Maaran has translated the words into the visuals brilliantly. Ilaiyaraaja sir is my guru and I have dedicated some of my works to him.”

Soori, who is playing the lead role in the film, said, “I feel proud to be a part of such a project that features music by Ilaiyaraaja sir. I owe a lot to Vetri Maaran sir for giving me this opportunity. Vijay Sethupathi is someone who keeps pushing his co-stars and technicians to achieve greater levels. Both of us worked together in Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu and even back then, he would often ask me to not confine myself to just comedy roles and assured me that I have the potential to be a performer.” Recalling how Vijay Sethupathi thanked Vetri Maaran for roping in Soori for this film, the actor added, “They believed in me and I hope I have done justice to my role. I still remember Vetri Maaran sir narrating the script to me and I wondered which role I’d be doing when he said I’m playing the lead. I had a hard time controlling my emotions.”

Ilaiyaraaja with Team ‘Viduthalai’

Ilaiyaraaja with Team ‘Viduthalai’ | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Vijay Sethupathi, who plays Perumal Vathiyaar in the film, said, “I was disappointed about not being able to be a part of Vada Chennai and for the same reason, I haven’t watched it yet. But I think I have made up for it by doing Viduthalai. I watched from the crowd at this very hall when Aadukalam’s audio launch happened. I am glad that my friend Soori has got a new avatar as a performer in this movie. Ilaiyaraaja sir’s music is intense and fascinating.”

Vetri Maaran, who spoke at the end, thanked the entire list of cast and crew members by mentioning everyone’s name. “Viduthalai started with Ilaiyaraaja sir. I showed him 45 minutes from the film and he immediately started writing lyrics and composing the ‘Kaattu Malli’ song. When I asked him for a background score that will come in handy during some of the scenes, he exactly delivered what I had in mind and had a hard time explaining in words,” said the director. Calling it an arduous task to shoot inside the forests, he added, “Andrea asked me to check out a location where she has shot for Mysskin’s Pisasu 2 and it was perfect. Jeyamohan and I spoke about a story of his a long time ago but we couldn’t connect after that. Then I came to know that another team is doing that film. When I presented him with another scenario, he told me how he had written a story in a similar vein. We took that and expanded it to make Viduthalai.”

Speaking about the film, Vetri Maaran said, “The initial plan was to wrap up this film in Rs 4 crore, but we ended up spending it on just the first schedule. Not only was Elred fine with it but he even came forward to do a train accident scene that we thought of letting go of due to budget constraints. Soori underwent a lot of physical pain in this film. I initially asked just for eight days of Vijay Sethupathi’s time but it ended up becoming more than 65. It actually took me a while to even understand how to shoot in such a terrain.”

The event ended with Vetri Maaran confirming that after this film, he will get busy with Viduthalai’s second part following which he will complete Suriya’s Vaadivaasal and get on with the sequel of Dhanush’s Vada Chennai.

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