Cinema

A filmy reunion

James Vasanthan promises that his upcoming Oh Andha Naatkal will be a treat for fans of 80’s Tamil films. “They will have plenty to reminisce about. This generation too will find a lot to like,” says James. Almost 80 per cent of the shoot is completed, with the film all set for release during the Pongal holidays. Oh Andha Naatkal will see four yesteryear heroines—Raadhika, Suhasini, Kushboo and Urvashi—teaming up. Each of them will reprise their famous characters from their old movies.

James, who is producing, directing and composing music for the film, is particularly impressed with Urvashi’s acting skills. “I’ve heard great things about her improvisational ability, but seeing it in person is something else.”

On the idea for the film, he says it all came about from a casual conversation about the films of the 80s and 90s. “I think that was the golden phase of Tamil cinema. Suddenly, I wondered what it would be like if all those famous characters returned. What if Sindhu ( Sindhu Bhairavi), Meena ( Mannan), Radha ( Rettai Vaal Kuruvi) and Tiruppura Sundari ( Michael Madhana Kama Rajan) all met?”

Of course, it was hard for him to miss out on big names like Radha, Ramya Krishnan, and Ambika, but he knew it was inevitable. I could not have done justice to the script with more names.”

He first shared the idea with Suhasini, who, at once, agreed. With her on board, it was relatively easy to get the other actresses on board. “She has been of terrific support. I wrote the script only after she agreed.”

James says he has kept the story simple. “A school alumni meet happens in Chennai, with four women in their late 40s—classmates once upon a time—meeting. They realise that even though the years have passed, they continue to retain their vivaciousness.” He says he was amazed at how naturally acting comes to all four of them. “I wasn’t a director. I was simply a student, learning from them.”

Much of the shoot has taken place in Melbourne, Australia. “That’s because the three friends travel to Australia to meet the fourth.” James says it was a hectic schedule in Australia. “But we have sailed through.”

Heroine speak

Suhasini doesn’t think that these films come often. “James deserves much praise for the script. It is not just about the story; it also has plenty of scope for entertainment.”

She says she had a lot of fun shooting for the film. “There were no ego tussles between us. All of us have equal footage, and we got along really well.”

Raadhika found it very easy to reprise her Rettai Vaal Kuruvi role. “It is one of my most memorable characters. I’m like the character a bit; we accept our fate and move on quickly.”

Kushboo, meanwhile, remembers that her first film, Dharmathin Thalaivan, was with Suhasini. “We have stayed in touch since. This film has brought all of us closer.”

Urvashi says that not even in her wildest of dreams did she believe that such a project could come to fruition. “Usually, I quite look forward to finishing shooting, but this was a film I wished we had shot forever.”

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 3:58:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/A-filmy-reunion/article16725010.ece

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