‘Uriyadi 2’ is a spiritual sequel to ‘Uriyadi’: Vijay Kumar

Vijay Kumar on what prompted him to make Uriyadi 2, releasing today, and the failure of its predecessor

Published - April 04, 2019 04:51 pm IST

Vijay Kumar in a scene from ‘Uriyadi 2’

Vijay Kumar in a scene from ‘Uriyadi 2’

The walls inside filmmaker Vijay Kumar’s office are adorned with colourful portraits of Mani Ratnam, AR Rahman, and Robert De Niro, apart from posters of Kill Bill , The Godfather, and In The Mood For Love . “I am also a big fan of the Coen Brothers,” smiles Vijay Kumar, who is gearing up for the release of Uriyadi 2 , which he says, is a spiritual sequel to his political-thriller Uriyadi (2016).

Uriyadi , by his own admission, was a result of frustration, “I was bothered by caste discrimination. The film was a result of what I went through during my college days,” he says, adding, “It wasn’t made for money or fame. As an artiste, I wanted to make a film that satisfies the kalaignan in me.” Vijay sensed the possibility of a potential sequel when he wrote Uriyadi . “It had multiple layers in the script. There was a separate track about a boy who fights for the rights of people. Unfortunately, I couldn’t develop it due to budget constraints. You could say that the core idea for the sequel branched out of Uriyadi ,” he adds.

Vijay describes Uriyadi 2 as a “standalone” film that has nothing to do with the first part. “I hadn’t considered Uriyadi ’s popularity or market pressure when I started developing the script. To be honest, we thought about giving a different title. Since Uriyadi has become our identity of sorts, we went ahead with this title. It tries to address some of the genuine issues that have been plaguing our society.” The beauty of Uriyadi was that none of the lead characters had any ulterior motives. The boys were forced to take up violence during moments of crisis. The director says that Uriyadi 2 will be on similar lines. “You might be reminded of the characters when you watch it. In a sense, the sequel carries the same spirit,” he says, adding that Uriyadi 2 can be seen as a coming-of-age of the boys from its predecessor.

Uriyadi was an important film for many reasons. It held a mirror to society and showed the extent of hate politics that has seeped into it. It depicted how two caste-based outfits vandalised their leaders’ statues, reminding us of a similar incident that happened in the State. Ask him about the scene, he says, “Hate sells the best. In cricket, you predict the score depending on run rate, right? Likewise, I thought ‘how worse can it get’? Their objective was to provoke reactions from people.” The film is still remembered for its brilliantly-choreographed interval stretch, which remains to be one of the best action scenes in Tamil cinema. Vijay says that the scene took him the longest time to shoot. “Everything was planned in the scripting stage. I exchanged ideas with my stunt coordinator. I also worked on the background score,” he explains, adding, “A lot went into the making of that particular scene. Which is why it became big.”

Vijay Kumar idolises Che Guevara, admitting that he’s drawn to the principles of Communism. Which perhaps explains his fascination for politically-charged films. Vijay, however, is worried about the treatment given to recent political films. He adds: “Every time a filmmaker tries to capitalise on societal issues, it becomes a cliché. When you aren’t serious about your film, then you’ll start losing the audience.”

The director had an emotional outburst when Uriyadi failed to make the cut. Three years after its release, he’s more than happy about its critical reception.“I didn’t expect it to reach people through the Internet. I wouldn’t blame the audience. The problem was that we couldn’t market it properly. People didn’t have the chance to see it. Uriyadi may be a failure in terms of numbers. But the film has achieved its purpose.”

The year 2016 saw the rise of a new brigade of filmmakers, with Vijay Kumar leading the pack. He feels that the audiences are much more evolved now. “Their cinema knowledge has vastly improved. They’re watching all sorts of cinema including foreign films. So, it’s our responsibility to cater to their taste. In a way, they’re pushing us to make good cinema.”

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