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Theatre on the big screen

A still from Kaaviya Thalaivan  

The world has always been a stage for actor Siddharth. And this weekend, this Shakespearan phrase will come to life on the big screen.

For, Kaaviya Thalaivan – a film that took a year-and-a-half to put in place, 80 days to shoot and 8 months of post-production – is ready. Was it a struggle? “Oh no, it’s been the most gratifying experience,” he says proudly, going on to add, “We’ve made exactly the film we wanted to. After Jigarthanda, I’m looking forward to my next big one this weekend.”

Directed by Vasanthabalan, this period drama has been described as a ‘Shakespearan drama unfolding on screen.’ A tale on the life and times of theatre artistes of the past, it has grand sets, elaborate costumes, and music that mirrors that era.

The tunes by A.R. Rahman have already struck a chord with listeners, having been repeatedly played on radio channels.

The composer, says Siddharth, has done much more than just giving songs. “I won’t call him (Rahman) just a music director working on this project,” he says, “ KT is a musical and you need someone who understands this grammar. Imagine a scene in which one actor outshines another with a powerful performance…just that it’s not dialogue but song. We needed someone who gets that. Off stage, of course, there’s romance and drama. He’s given soul to this film.”

The fact that Siddharth was from the stage helped him a lot while enacting the scenes. “I’m a huge mythology buff. I’m a big fan of the 50s and 60s theatre and cinema, and watch more old films than recent ones.”

His knowledge of the past and how Tamil theatre was during those times came in handy while filming KT.

“I’m keenly interested in Tamil history and know a lot of stories of the past. It helped me to be in sync with Vasanthabalan and we picked each other’s brains a lot during the shoot,” he recalls.

While talking about the good old days of Tamil theatre, Siddharth is also clued into the current scene. “Today, Tamil theatre is reduced to mostly comedy and farce. It’s true that I grew up on that too. I’m a big fan of people like Crazy Mohan, S.Ve. Shekher and Y.G. Mahendra. But being someone who came from the stage, I generally prefer watching theatre abroad as it’s exactly how it was a hundred years ago. Here, in Chennai, a huge revival is needed, at least to the extent it is in cities like Kolkata, Mumbai or Bangalore. There’s a small bucket list I have for Kaaviya Thalaivan. After watching it, even if one youngster says that he wants to be in theatre, that’ll be a big achievement,” he signs off.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 4:56:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/theatre-on-the-big-screen/article6639888.ece

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