Cinema

When small is big

Filmmaker Suseenthiran  

On the streets of Valasarawakkam, Suseenthiran is shooting an ‘action block’ commonly seen in Tamil cinema — one in which hugely built goons kill people in broad daylight with crowbars and sickles. The scene is for Pandia Nadu, which has Vishal and Lakshmi Menon in the lead. As he shouts ‘Action’, an auto rickshaw flies past us into the frame to stop in front of a car. “Cut,” he says. The next shot is the one in which the goons slam a crowbar into the wind shield of the car. Any question on what is being shot is jokingly met with self-ridicule. He admits he isn’t shooting anything new. “Same old stuff, boss,” he chuckles.

The sequence probably picked itself when the filmmaker set his film in Madurai — a city that has been associated only with violence in popular culture. “It is a typical revenge story where the hunted turns a hunter just before the climax,” he says. And, the love track? “Of course, it is there. These days people don’t watch the film if the lead pair doesn’t fall in love,” he says.

Despite the fact that the general flavour of the film has been predetermined by the place that is set in, Suseenthiran claims it would provide a “different kind of film for Vishal”. “Vishal plays a character who stammers and he has done it wonderfully well. He will shine as an actor in this film,” he says.

Pandia Nadu seems to fit well within Suseenthiran’s own logic of filmmaking — a star film after a small film, coming as it does after Aadhalaal Kaadhal Seiveer. “I like writing stories that work on the audience at an emotional level,” he says. His star films may be formulaic fare, but his ‘small’ films are fleshed out and personal. This has been the case right from his first film — Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu to Azhagar Saamiyin Kudhirai and the latest Aadhalaal…

Does he deem his latest experiment successful? “I wanted to explore the impatience of lovers unmindful of the problem that lies ahead,” he says of Aadhalaal…, which he made after the debacle of Raja Pattai with Vikram in the lead.

Defending Aadhalaal…, which many have labelled as a conservative take on modern relationships, Suseenthiran says he doesn’t really bother too much because difference of opinion is part of the game. “Bharathiraja hugged and praised me for Aadhalaal...,” he says and adds he will continue to do small films. “Small films don’t restrict me creatively. I get a lot of creative space.”

Will he break the cycle of following up a big film with a small film and stick to stars? “I have no interest to do films only with stars,” he states. Right after Vishal’s Pandia Nadu, his next will be a small film with Vishnu in the lead. “It will be a film that explores the silly fear of people. It will be a full-length comedy,” he says. What is it called? “ Veeradheera Sooran,” he says.



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Printable version | Oct 31, 2020 7:00:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/when-small-is-big/article5204215.ece

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