Tamil cinema goes national

Madhavan in Irudhi Suttru  

S. Sashikanth of Y NOT Studios and C.V. Kumar of Thirukumaran Entertainment have not just produced R. Madhavan’s boxing drama Irudhi Suttru as a bilingual (the film is called Saala Khadoos in Hindi and presented by Rajkumar Hirani), they also plan to remake R.S. Prasanna’s romantic comedy Kalyana Samayal Saadham in Hindi with Imran Khan together with another big Bollywood director working on the adaptation. Additionally, Sashikanth is adapting Aaranya Kaandam in Hindi with the original director Thiagarajan Kumararaja as the creative producer. His last release Kaaviya Thalaivan may not have set the box office on fire, but Sashikanth says he is extremely proud of the Siddharth-Prithviraj film directed by Vasanthabalan.

“Success comes from not just the money but getting all the ideas together, the effort of what’s gone into it… but yes, it has been a disaster at the box office. It has been a big brand-building exercise for us… to have been able to pull off an important project like that. It may be a setback financially for Y NOT Studios, but we have gone one step further in terms of what we stand for.”

Sashikanth decided to fight back with the boxing film, the bilingual and his entry into Bollywood. “The intention to go up north was always there and we were looking for an opportunity. When Sudha Kongara Prasad’s Irudhi Suttru came to us, we knew it was something that could be packaged. It’s a universal underdog film with an anti-establishment hero, a sports film at that. Also, given the fact that Maddy was always the lead and that he has a pan-India presence, it just gave us the idea to make it a bilingual.”

Y NOT has made three bilingual films — Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi in Tamil and Telugu (which is also set for a Hindi remake by Excel Entertainment), Vaayai Moodi Pesavum in Tamil and Malayalam, and Kaaviya Thalaivan in Tamil and Malayalam. Rajkumar Hirani stepped in to produce Saala Khadoos, thanks to his long-term association with R. Madhavan, first as a creative producer. “Rajuji came on board during the scripting itself. A lot of doctoring happened to the script to make it pan-India, and soon, he was excited enough to be part of it business-wise too. It was great for us as a brand association, especially post- PK. We released the trailer along with PK.”

Irudhi Suttru is about an anti-establishment boxing coach with a lot of angst against the system that let him down, finally redeeming himself by training a girl who goes on to be a world champion. And Madhavan reinvented himself completely to look like a gritty, tough, angry boxer. “I want to do movies all around the map,” says C.V. Kumar, when you ask him about his decision to get into Hindi films. “We bought the rights of Kalyana Samayal Saadham to remake it in Hindi and Sashi approached me to make it with him and also told me about Irudhi Suttru… So, we decided to do both films together.”

“While Irudhi Suttru is a universal film that didn’t require too many changes in Hindi, KSS needs to be adapted quite a bit. But I am yet to get the Bollywood experience because we haven’t shot in Mumbai yet. But Hindi actors came down to shoot Saala Khadoos in Chennai, Ooty, Dharamsala… and it has been a nice experience. The KSS remake will be shot entirely in Mumbai,” adds Kumar.

Their slate for 2015? Sashikanth hopes to get Kumararaja’s Aaranya Kaandam made in Hindi this year. “Screenwriter Kartik Krishnan has adapted the script under Kumararaja’s supervision. It’s set in Hyderabad and it’s come out really well. We are going to start casting for it soon. Y NOT is also producing Kumararaja’s ambitious second film in Hindi… Inception is nothing compared to how smart it is… but it’s such a big film to make in scope that it will take us a year and a half just for pre-production. Since he hasn’t made anything since Aaranya Kaandam, I told him let’s make something else quickly and we’ll hopefully start shooting a quick film in the next six months.”

Sashikanth is equally excited about Pushkar-Gayathri’s new film Vikram-Veda. “That’s also among the most original scripts we have developed. It’s like a Catch Me If You Can-meets- Vikram aur Betaal. The story of a police commissioner called Vikram who has to catch a gangster called Veda, an action film set in the world of encounter cops and… Vijay Sethupathi is playing the gangster,” he says excitedly. Sashikanth has also been working on his own film called Test, a sports thriller, which he hopes to direct soon.

C. V. Kumar’s Thirukumaran Entertainment has Enakkul Oruvan, all ready for release in the next few weeks. The official remake of the critically and commercially acclaimed Lucia, starring Siddharth, is looking much better than the original, he says. “We’re just waiting for a good date by the end of January or first week of February because it’s a concept film that requires a few weeks' run to catch on.”

Coming up after that is the Vishnu Vishal-starrer Indru Netru Naalai directed by debutant Ravi that’s currently in post-production. “We are looking to get out the science-fiction film by March.” Kumar is also producing Karthik Subbaraj’s Iraivi and Nalan Kumarasamy’s Kai Neelam, a sort-of-sequel to Soodhu Kavvum, and both films are expected to go on the floors pretty soon. “I’m also producing a Kannada remake of Thegidi and want to do both Malayalam and Telugu apart from the two Hindi films and have films in five different languages out this year,” he ends.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2021 1:15:36 PM |

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