Kuruvi call

Will Dharani’s box-office draw continue with Kuruvi? sudhish kamath talks to the director

Kuruvi is a personal film but with a larger social theme Chased by baddies, the hero has to rush home to save his family. He runs across rooftops and spots a train 200 metres away. He looks at the eagle soar, takes a cue and jumps! He flies. He doesn’t land on top of the train though. Having crossed 200 metres, he still falls one metre short but manages to grip the edge of a bridge, climbs over, sprints along and dives into the train.

Superstar would’ve landed straight on top of the train. On his feet, standing. “That’s because he’s Rajnikant. This is Vijay,” laughs director Dharani.

But this scene that appears in the interval block of Kuruvi is definitive of Dharani’s school of filmmaking. He likes to suspend your disbelief but within that realm of exaggeration, wants to have a streak of realism running through it. “You will see that in all my films. Going to Malaysia is no big deal for the people watching the film. But not for the hero. He has to find ways to get to Malaysia and he goes as a Kuruvi.”

The backdrop is real, only the events are exaggerated. It wasn’t so when he made Dhil, we ask.

“Dhil was a story of an ordinary man becoming a hero. But in Dhool or Ghilli or Kuruvi, the guys are heroes right from the start. So it has to be made differently.”

So it depends on the stardom of the leading man playing the role?

“Yes, everything starts from a star. From Hollywood to Chennai. James Bond films for example. You can’t make Schindler’s List with James Bond. He needs to be Bond. Imagine a Bond film where he does not say ‘shaken not stirred,’ will you like it? You want those one-liners.”

Dharani says he writes his scripts with those ingredients. “Actors may come and go but Bond remains. I write scripts for the hero.” So what is the formula? If there was one, every film with five songs and five fights would be a hit. “That will not work. Five songs, five fights don’t make up the formula. Dhool had only two fights. I wish I knew the formula. I look within me and go by what I believe in. All my scripts address different issues.” The hero is usually a representative of the common man who becomes their messiah right from his angry young man days. Who is the hero today?

“As times keep changing, problems keep changing. Today, people spend their lives in a cubicle. What people keep fighting for every day differs... like life in a call centre. They are so much inside their own world that the problem is becoming personal… That’s why Kuruvi’s motivation is personal though it has larger social consequences. When do you come out of your cubicle? Only when you have a problem that affects your life.”

Despite the contemporary hero prototype, Kuruvi has a distinct late seventies-eighties classic landscape feel.

“I wanted that feel. I love Sholay. Ramesh Sippy once said he wished he hadn’t made Sholay because he could never make another film bigger than that again. I wanted a remix of that feel for this generation. Otherwise, it is difficult to relate to guys running around with guns.”

The first half of the film is set in Malaysia and the second in a quarry in Cuddapah (shot in Salem). “Again, I wanted a clear-cut demarcation. People who enjoy life stay there (Malaysia). People who suffer stay here. I wanted the hero to be in the middle ground so that he can see both worlds.”

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