I was clear that Vikram had less dialogues: Rajesh M Selva on ‘Kadaram Kondan’
‘Kadaram Kondan’ has left the critics divided with polarised responses. MetroPlus speaks with the filmmaker for a post-release discussion about the movie.
Rajesh M Selva loves watching masala movies with a bucket full of popcorn — a ritual that doesn’t quite end without him screaming his lungs out for a mass scene. But the subjects Selva helms do not fit into the realm of masala cinema. Kadaram Kondan, he says, is his latest attempt at infusing masala tropes into the narrative. Selva doesn’t have a fascination for French movies, although Thoongaa Vanam (2015) and Kadaram Kondan were inspired by Sleepless Night (2011) and Point Blank (2010). He is well aware of the stakes involved in making a genre-specific movie like Kadaram Kondam, especially when the canvas is bigger.
“The biggest challenge with Kadaram Kondam was to appeal to the masses. We did our best to play to the gallery. Anything more would have done injustice to the genre,” Selva says, smiling, sitting at the office of Raaj Kamal Films International in Alwarpet.
Kadaram Kondan has left the critics divided with polarised responses. MetroPlus speaks with the filmmaker for a post-release discussion about the movie. Excerpts:
How has been the response for Kadaram Kondan?
It’s been heartening. Fans now want a prequel for KK (the character played by Vikram). I travelled to Trivandrum recently, and there too the film is doing well.
Given the screen time and dialogues, it was a rather bold choice by Vikram.
Absolutely. I had discussions with Vikram sir about his character and he was excited about the proceedings. In fact, he saw the film only on the first day with fans. He was confident about his part and had blind faith in me. I owe him for that.
Was it intentional to name Abi Hassan’s character Vasu? It’s a nice callback to Thoongaa Vanam.
It was. A lot of people found similarities between Kadaram Kondan and Thoongaa Vanam. As a director, you watch your films in various stages of production. When I watched the final copy, I saw Vishwaroopam in it. Of course, it wasn’t deliberate.
Thoongaa Vanam, in many ways, was tighter than Kadaram Kondan...
I agree. I mostly received positive feedback for Thoongaa Vanam. In terms of its business, it had a decent run at the box office. From critics to audiences, everybody liked the film. But I felt that it wasn’t celebrated much. Which is why I wanted people to celebrate Kadaram Kondan.
Reams of information about the characters were served as voice-overs. Apart from that, we know nothing about them. What was the idea?
While scripting the project, we had a backstory for almost every character. I don’t believe in spoon-feeding. Audiences were able to guess Vasu-Aatirah’s backstory with a single dialogue. In fact, Kalpana and Vincent (played by Lena and Vikas) too had a story of their own. The duo trained together and even had an affair. When they planned to get married, Kalpana comes to know about Vincent’s secret life. This was the brief given to the actors. Had I developed their arcs, the film would have been close to three hours.
One of the major criticisms is the casting, especially that of Abi Hassan. Take The Terminator for instance. There, Arnold tries to help Linda Hamilton — something similar to what Vikram does here. But we don’t feel for the characters...
In that sense, most of the characters were newcomers in this. The idea was to give a certain freshness to the script. I understand the opinions and suggestions. But ultimately, it’s the call I had taken. And I’m happy about it.
In hindsight, do you give yourself the benefit of the doubt?
Not at all. See, there were several reasons why Abi Hassan was chosen to play this role after which we even had script reading sessions, where we addressed all these questions.
- Rajesh M Selva is currently working on two scripts — a full-fledged comedy film and a political thriller.
- He is also in talks with leading OTT platforms for a possible web series.
Considering the film’s genre, do you think it needed more zeal and pomp?
I think it’s even throughout. I was very clear that Vikram sir had less dialogues. KK is least bothered about death and nudity, and the character itself was written in that way. Vikram may not have punch dialogues here but his mere screen presence does the job.
Kadaram Kondan was shot in Malaysia. It’s sad that the movie is banned there...
It’s banned because they felt we portrayed the Malaysian Police Department in a poor light. I heard that some of the fans travelled to Singapore to watch the movie. This isn’t new to Raaj Kamal. Remember Vishwaroopam? (laughs)