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"I Slept well during the Chennai floods" – Vishal (Exclusive Interview)

Monday, January 18, 2016 • Tamil Comments
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Actor Vishal's 'Kathakali' has released on January 14 2014 as a Pongal treat and the film is getting great reviews as a action thriller. In this exclusive interview to Indiaglitz. Vishal speaks about the film and also about his future projects and his activities and future plans as the newly elected General Secretary of Nadigar Sangam.

You announced the release date of ‘Kathakali’ well in advance. How did you manage to meet deadline in spite of Nadigar Sangam elections and floods?

We chose January 14 because of the Pongal holidays which had a four day window and I have to thank director Pandiraj for working hard to pull it off. The Nadigar Sangam assignments took much of my time and also the unexpected floods during which time it was our duty to volunteer relief work. Again, it is Pandiraj and his team who meticulously planned the entire work of 61 days shoot and the post production and here we are.

Can we say that your landmark victory in Nadigar Sangam elections and the relief work for Chennai floods inspired you in your work in ‘Kathakali’?

Not only me as an actor, but it was heartening to see people from all walks of life jumping in to do their part in relief and rescue activities. Even in my base camp so many unknown faces contributed hugely, IT people, doctors and other with supplies coming from Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kerala and when I stand in front of a mirror I am proud that I was also a part of this team. I slept well on those days getting the self satisfaction that I have done what I could for my people.

Tell us why you chose the title ‘Kathakali’…

The title has nothing to do with the art form, it is more for the colloquial sense of the word used commonly by the everyday people. It was so catchy and for the second half of the film it suits the script also and that is why we chose this over ‘Idi Minnal Mazhai’ that Pandiraj also suggested.

Pandiraj has the reputation for making Children themed films and how did you take it when he narrated an action script?

Pandi and I wanted to do a film together for the past one year and even though he was doing two films at the time ‘Pasanga 2’ and ‘Idhu Namma Aaalu’, ‘Kathakali’ happened out of the blue. Pandiraj came up with a line based on a true story that happened to his friend about how just a phone call can completely turn one’s life upside down. A murder will happen and the screenplay will be a guessing game about whodunit and it interested me a lot like reading a novel and feeling that the action thriller with a Pandiraj touch will surely come out as a good product. I didn’t want to miss this intense thriller genre and so I started immediately.

Hip Hop Tamizha Aadhi is like a brother to you, but how did you convince Pandiraj to have him score the music?

Pandiraj has the habit of changing his music directors for each of his films, even in both ‘Pasanga 2’ and ‘Idhu Namma Aalu’ he is working with two new faces and that is how we thought his combination with Hip Hop Tamizha would be fresh. I told Aadhi with whom I share a great rapport that unlike ‘Aambala’ this won't be a full fledged album, but a script which demands a certain kind of music which has only an opening song and a duet. Aadhi likes to do theme songs and in ‘Kathakali’ there are two of those and what impressed him most is the huge scope for background score especially in the second half. After the movie releases Aadhi’s background score will be the talking point.

Aadhi is improving film by film in re-recording and what do you have to say about that for ‘Kathakali’?

I muted the sound and watched the entire film and then again watched with Aadhi’s music and the result was astounding as the music infuses more intensity to the film. Usually for a love scene the BGM would be clichéd but for an edge of the seat thriller which has Aadhi’s signature on it much like ‘Thani Oruvan’ he has made his presence felt throughout the film.

Pandiraj in his films ,usually gives much importance to natural humor is it the same in ‘Kathakali’?

This is the first time I am working with Karunaas who is a longtime friend of mine and as usual Pandiraj’s comedy dialogues are natural and not the usual cinematic type and it is so casual and flows with the screenplay. I am real glad that Karunaas is a part of this project.

Catherine Tresa had intense scenes in ‘Madras’ Is it the same in ‘Kathakali’

This is the first time I am working with Catherine Tresa and the love scenes have come out real cute and she has done a fabulous job. It is important for the pairing to be fresh and Catherine makes her presence felt in the first half love scenes and also some intense sequences in the second. She was a little disappointed as she expected a couple of duets and also scope to dance, but these elements are not required for this film.

What about the stunt sequences in ‘Kathakali’?

Anbu Arivu is the stunt choreographer for the Selfie fight that you see in the trailer and the climax fight is by Anal Arasu moreover apart from these two the other stunt choreographer is the screenplay which is filled with heated moments all through. Pandiraj put his complete trust in both the stunt masters with the only request that when I fight ten people should not fly at the same time and also that there should not be even a single harness (rope) shot in the film. He wanted the fights to come out more realistically like in ‘Pandiya Naadu’ and did not want the fantasy element at all. Anal Arasu has done fantasy fights for me in a few films, but here he has staged fights in such a natural way to suit my body language.

Now that you are the General Secretary and also an active social worker, does it put more responsibilities on your shoulders especially your image on film?

As far as cinema is concerned, whatever we do there is a censor board but on top of that it is our responsibility to see to it that we don’t speak derogatory dialogues, but as far as Pandiraj’s films are concerned, these kind of things are totally absent as he makes sure that none of his scenes or dialogues especially towards women does not hit below the belt. As far as ‘Kathakali’ is concerned, I did not face any such situation thanks mainly to Pandiraj’s sensitive film making and he has been more responsible in keeping his image as a clean director intact.

At a time when people are shy to ask for condoms even in medical stores you have boldly done so in the film…

This is 2016 and it is high time that people grow up. When the government itself is promoting the use of c

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