Director Sasi who made the industry sit up and take notice with his Sollamale, Roja Kootam and Dishyum is back to what he is best at – impressive story telling through Poo, his latest film. Poo is spreading aromatic fragrance everywhere and the film has been totally lapped by class and mass.

Sasi shares his feelings with Behindwoods.

"My choice would be Suriya"

How did you choose the story of Poo?

Sasi: I read the short story of Veyilodu Poi written by Thamizh Selvan seventeen years back. The effect that the story had on me was mind-blowing. I had suggested to my friend to read the same and the next morning he told me he was crying the entire night and felt very heavy after reading the story. What surprised me was that he was doing the same thing which I did the previous night. I felt as though the effect that the story had on me was given recognition and I somehow wanted to share the specific feeling with like-minded individuals. I decided on that day that I have to take the story to everyone. However it took almost 17 years for me to realize that dream.

Why should anyone see Poo?

Not only Poo, but I would like the audience to see any good work. If I happen to watch a good film, I always make it a point to tell friends to see it and spread the good word around. Poo, in that way, renders a beautiful feeling to everyone. I have not named any character in the film as Poo. You will not find a single shot which shows a flower. I chose this title because of the feeling of beauty, fragrance and tenderness which is evoked in a person’s mind when a flower makes its appearance and then wanes away. In a similar vein, I wanted my film to elicit such a response in the minds of the audience. I was confident that the viewer after seeing Poo would be absolutely besotted by the character Mari, the beauty and the warmth of her heart and I was also sure that this will have a long standing effect on the audience at least for an hour. That’s why as a metaphor, I titled my film as Poo.

Significance of the twin palm trees

Through this film I wanted to convey a feeling which is more beautiful than love. The palm trees play an important role in the life of my lead characters. When I wanted to make a film with rural milieu, I first listed things which I did not want to show, like for instance, anklets and such mementoes. When I was young, I had read a novel by a Russian author where the lead character was a teacher who will travel across the mountains to teach. There will be a tree which would be like a signboard for him and he would understand that he has reached his destination once he spots the tree. His student will be in love with him and for the two lovelorn couple, the tree would be like a silent spectator, a witness. This was the inspiration for me and I chose the palm trees to suit our culture.

How do you think Srikanth suited his character?

(Laughs). Parvathy who is the heroine in Poo is extremely fair and it took almost one and half hour everyday to change her skin tone to a darker one. She, as Mari, has been accepted by one and all. As regards Srikanth, my character in the film is that of a villager who goes to the town to do his engineering and I feel he fitted the bill perfectly. We also had to work on toning down his complexion. Srikanth had done his role well and the image that he had all along of a city dweller has been completely broken with Poo. I am sure he will be known as Poo Srikanth henceforth.

Why don’t you work with stars like Vijay or Ajith?

I am not against working with them. However I will certainly not do films which will showcase my hero as the ultimate best man in the world with virtues personified or as someone who can single-handedly bash up villains. Of course there will be heroism in my films. My idea of heroism is different. According to me Gandhi is one of the best heroes of our country. He never hit anybody or bashed up people. But he is still a hero in his own way. Strength of character is what distinguishes a hero from a common man. And you will find that in my hero. A realistic approach to the characterization and picturization is what I concentrate on.

On debutant music composer S S Kumar

I somehow am not afraid to introduce new music directors or cinematographers right from my first film. I am capable of getting what I require from anyone – be it from Bharathwaj or Vijay Anthony or be it from S S Kumar. Kumar has done a good job. Choo Choo Maari and Sivakasi Rathiye are already popular. His re-recording is fabulous and I can proudly say that after Ilayaraja, S S Kumar will be spoken for his re-recording.

"There will be heroism in my films"

On debutant cinematographer Muthiah.

I chose P G Muthiah after seeing the trailer of Aval Peyar Thamizarasi which was awesome. When I enquired about him, I came to know that he is a Visual Communication graduate from SRM and asked him to meet me. When I met him, I was taken back to see a young man fresh from college. I was skeptical about whether this young man would help me realize my dream. But when I interviewed him, his honesty and boldness impressed me and his answers to my questions were different and were straight forward. And I roped him in and he also did not fail me. People have started speaking about his work.

Why do you give long gaps between your films?

I am glad that people are asking me this question instead of why I am doing films. (laughs). I want to give quality films and be known in the industry as a good story teller. I would like to narrate a small incident related to this. When Dishyum was released in Udayam complex, I personally heard people wanting to buy tickets for the film because Sasi is the director. I am not being immodest, but that is the truth. I want to sustain this name. Secondly I want my films to be of profitable venture to my producers. Cinema is such a vast industry and behind every film, there are at least one hundred families. When my film does well, all the technicians associated in the film also are recognized and this paves way for a better career and better life for them. That is the best credit that I can get.

What is your take on the new young directors in the field?

According to me, I also figure in the list of upcoming directors. I think I can answer this question after I establish myself.

"My vote is for Parvathy"

About your heroes

In Sollamale, Livingstone did a wonderful job. He is a very dedicated artist who did not even eat the day on which we shot the climax. In Roja Kootam, I now feel that Srikanth had overacted. But I cannot blame him. It is only my fault for having to make him act in that manner. In Dishyum, Jeeva’s performance was subtle. As regards Poo, it is a heroine centric film and Srikanth does not have much of a role but will be established in a different genre. Among all my films, I feel Parvathy is the best that brought out exactly what I wanted and has certainly glorified the character and has brought a new dimension to the role. I feel that she is the best and I am sure she is going to go places after this. My vote is for Parvathy.

How is today’s Tamil cinema ?

Tamil cinema is healthy, hopeful and promising. Otherwise I would not have done a film like Poo. But here it is difficult to have a popular star to try out a new enterprise. Good films like Paruthi Veeran or Autograph or Azhagi or Kaadal, had directors trying out with new faces and not with established artists because they will not support them. But in Hindi the scenario is different. Chak de India had Shah Rukh Khan and Lagaan and Taare Zameen Par had Ameer Khan.

How do you feel about churning out films amidst the kinds of Dasavatharams, Robots or Marma yogis.?

Three questions I ask myself before venturing into any project- Whether my film will be profitable for my producer, whether my work will be appreciated and finally whether my content is good enough to combat any kind of competition. If I get Yes as an answer for all these questions, then, I will proceed. I am very sure that rains or world cup cricket match or a big budget film will never in any way affect a good film.

If Deiva Magan is remade which hero do you think can do justice to it?

Vikram or Suriya

If you are to do a film with today’s popular heroes, who will you choose?

Vikram and Suriya have been proving their versatility. Ajith also can be molded very well. Dhanush is also fine. But my choice would be Suriya.

"My choice would be Suriya"

What is special about Poo?

It is a story about a woman. In the Tamil film industry after K Balachander's Kalki, not many films have been out which are woman centric. When I started Poo, I had many detractors who cautioned me against doing the film which will revolve around a woman. But I am very confident and certain that Poo will make an impact and I have been proved right. A woman is not someone whose life revolves around television serials. When films are made with a dog, with a mummy, with a baby, why cannot I make a film with a woman as a central theme? After all, she also has a heart and feelings. I have only dealt with a part of a woman's feelings which is love.

Interviewer: Inian

Text: Jyothsna

Divya Spandana Sneha Sharanya Mohan Nakul Priyamani Tamanna
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