With filmmaker S.A. Chandrasekaran whose ‘Pandhayam’ releases today.
Picture of confidence: Director S.A. Chandrasekaran and (below) Pandhayam.
“I’m a maker with social consciousness. ‘Pandhayam’ will prove it all over again,” begins S.A. Chandrasekaran, whose 66th film as director, is set to roll out today. He made people sit up and take a closer look at our legal system with films such as ‘Sattam Oru Iruttarai,’ which catapulted Vijayakanth, then a struggling hero, to great heights. “I plumped for Vijayakanth’s powerful eyes. I see the same kind of spark in Nithin Sathya’s. And I have immense confidence in my story,” laughs SAC — confidence that has made him choose ‘Jeyippadhu Nijam’ (‘Sure to Win’) as the film’s tagline!
The writer-director’s ‘Naan Sivappu Manidhan’ which showcased the performing skills of Rajinikanth, ‘Satchi,’ and the like showed that bold themes are SAC’s forte. ‘Pandhayam,’ you hear, are on those lines. “It is! Pretty much like my ‘Needhikku Thandanai.’ I’m sure the message will go down well with my target audience, the youth,” says SAC. But youngsters don’t like preachy stuff. “That’s exactly why I don’t do it,” he laughs. “The point I make will be very subtle, hidden beneath a façade of fun, romance and action. They’ll enjoy the film and also stop to think. The sugar-coated pill should work.”
Why did he change tack all of a sudden and churn out a spate of formula films with son Vijay as hero? “Vijay was just 18 when I launched him — too young to bear the onus of heavy subjects. Now he has innumerable fans who would lend their ears to his messages on celluloid, and even follow them. Balasekaran’s ‘Love Today’ and Fazil’s ‘Kadhalukku Mariyaadhai’ imparted a lesson or two and they worked. But till that stage I had to conceive stories that suited him. Naturally they were romantic entertainers. Now I’ve reverted to my earlier themes,” he explains.
SAC’s last attempt, ‘Nenjirukkum Varai’ with Narain as hero, wasn’t exactly a money spinner. “But it had a very strong climax which was well received. My strength lies in narration. The actors should shine because of the way they are used in the film. Now ‘Pandhayam’ will vouch for it,” he says.
So what’s the new narrative like? “We are said to be an independent nation. But can we even voice our opinions without fear? Politicians and religious fanatics hold the country to ransom. Leave the people alone, and they will be united. So, like all of us my hero too is fed up. As I said the message is given with a mix of fun and frolic,” he divulges.
How much of the youth’s psyche does the senior director actually know? “I study them constantly. The ‘Pandhayam’ script took me a year and a half to complete. I worked on it over and over again, to give it enough sheen.”
At the audio release of the film Vijay said on stage that he would have loved to do Nithin’s role. SAC guffaws: “He’s a big hero today. If I had given it to him, it would have become Vijay’s film — not SAC’s. Vijay will only be too happy to see my film do well. Also I like to mould new actors,” says the director whose introductions include actors Rehman and Simran.
Nithin Sathya plays a fearless college goer. “The young actor” says SAC “has risen up to my expectations. In ‘Pandhayam,’ Prakash Raj comes out with a fabulous performance, but Nithin isn’t far behind.” Prakash, you hear, was smitten by the role and gave bulk dates for the film.
Comedy villain or suave manipulator, Prakash is known to play roles to perfection.
In ‘Pandhayam’ he’s a go-getter for whom rights and wrongs mean little. “Remember how he made ‘Chellam’ a household word after ‘Ghilli?’ Here, his ‘Kuzhandhai’ should make a similar impact,” smiles SAC.
Radhika’s is another significant part. “I’ve given vent to all my anger through her,” he says.
Sindhu Dhulani began with a bang in Tamil as Dhanush’s heroine and withdrew without a whimper. “Wait and watch. This time she could strike gold. She perfectly suits the role of a sprightly girl who has studied abroad.”
Nithin plays an ardent Vijay fan, and the buzz is that the big hero even makes a special appearance in ‘Pandhayam.’ “I don’t want to comment on it now. But I can assure you that a bonus awaits youngsters and fans of Vijay,” smiles the veteran.
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