Romance and realism
Kaadhal's success has proved that even realistic films work at the box-office
Pic. by S. Siva Saravanan
Director Balaji Sakthivel and actress Sandhya
WHEN DIRECTOR Balaji Sakthivel was listening to a fellow commuter narrate a story while travelling to his native Dindigul by train, he didn't quite realise that it would be the nucleus of his next film. Moved by that story of a young man, he decided to translate it on to celluloid."Kaadhal is more than a mere story. It is an experience. I narrated it with the Madurai manvaasanai and it has clicked," says Sakthivel.
Why did he bring in a lot of new faces in the film? "Established actors have their own style, which would not have suited the story. The chithappa character is an example. Had I cast a well-known actor in that role, the remaining sequences would have become predictable," he says.
Ask him whether realism will work in formula-driven Tamil cinema, and the director quips: "I narrated the story to more than 10 producers. They didn't like the climax (of the lover becoming a lunatic). The problem is that many producers insist on five songs, fights and comedy in a film. It suits them as it makes it easier to market the film."
After reading the script, Sakthivel's mentor, ace director Shankar, offered to produce it. Sakthivel, who was Shankar's assistant director, says that he is greatly inspired by his "guru". "People are tired of seeing masala films. That's why I decided to make a realistic film like Kaadhal." His first film Samurai's failure taught him that formula films don't always ensure success.
Story and screenplay
"The story must flow smoothly. The story and screenplay are closely linked. Only if you have the right mix, can you come out with a hit movie," he points out. Though Kaadhal is based on a real life story, the director did make some "exaggerated deviations" to make the screenplay interesting.
Sandhya who has earned rave reviews for her acting in the film, says that the movie offered a lot of scope to perform.
"The director helped me a lot in dialogue delivery as the Madurai slang was totally new for me. I have not even acted in school plays. Thanks to the support of the entire team, I was able to manage," says Sandhya, who is a school student.
Sakthivel credits Shankar for the success of the movie. "His slick marketing skills made all the difference. I am planning to send Kaadhal to major film festivals."
Sakthivel's next film will have friendship as the central theme.
The director promises that this one will also be close to life.
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