Cinema

Cycling against the wind

Director Seenu Ramasamy on the sets of Idam Porul Yaeval  

Setting a benchmark is hard. What's harder is attempting to set it higher again, as director Seenu Ramasamy found out. His second film, released in 2010, Thenmerku Paruvakaatru, won three National Awards including one for Best Feature Film in Tamil. And now, Seenu’s fourth film in eight years, Idam Porul Yaeval is ready for release.

“If Thenmerku… was set in the arid plains, my next film Neerparavai was a sea-based story. Contrastingly, Idam Porul Yaeval is located in a hilly region, with its undulating landscape and lush greenery. My films are always rooted to the earth, and consequently, the rusticity of nature is reflected in the characters,” says Seenu Ramasamy.

Three situations, three characters

Idam Porul Yaeval is about three situations — place ( idam), object ( porul) and work ( yaeval). The film has three main characters, each with a storyline of its own — played by Vijay Sethupathi, Vishnu Vishal and Vadivukkarasi. As the film progresses, their lives overlap, and finally converge in the hilly region where two other characters in the film reside — Nandita and Iyshwarya Rajesh. Seenu Ramasamy was inspired by a story narration by writer S. Ramakrishnan.

“Once, during a casual meeting with Ramakrishnan, he narrated to me the bare storyline of something he had in mind. Finding it interesting, I asked him to develop it into a full-fledged story even as I started writing the screenplay and dialogues,” reveals Seenu, who has given due credit to the author in the film.

Casting was not too much of a problem, considering Seenu’s comfort level with Vijay and Vishnu. “By then, Vijay was already a busy actor and although he had done his first film, Thenmerku Paruvakaatru, with me, I was not sure if he would have the time for another. But when I approached him, he immediately agreed; Vishnu, too, is acting in his second film for me (after Neerparavai),” says Seenu.

There are two aspects of the film that Seenu seems mainly excited about. “Vijay Sethupathi has very few dialogues but speaks volumes through his eyes and expressions. In contrast is Vishnu Vishal’s character — a chatterbox. In the music department, we will see Vairamuthu teaming up with Yuvan Shankar Raja for the first time,” says Seenu.

The songs contain an earthiness and melody reminiscent of yesteryear Ilaiyaraaja. “Most of the songs were composed after the entire film was shot. It helped that Yuvan could see the film before composing the tunes. This has given way to total synergy between the songs and the screenplay,” says Seenu.

Master mind

Seenu comes from the Balu Mahendra school of filmmaking. “The most important lesson I learned from him is that in making good cinema, one will always face challenges. It is like cycling against a strong wind. Good cinema, however, will always win at the end. I have also inherited from him the qualities of simplicity and an undying passion for filmmaking,” he says.

The Seenu trademark

Seenu’s films are known for their low budget and short durations. “Such films ensure that my producers recover their investment by the first weekend. It is important to meet their expectations, as they place so much trust in me, to the extent that they don't even visit the sets. I am confident that Idam Porul Yaeval will repeat my previous successes. Industry insiders who have seen the film have told me that they love how it has turned out.”


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Printable version | Oct 12, 2021 7:00:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/director-seenu-ramasamy-cycling-against-the-wind/article6796875.ece

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