Director A. Venkatesh
Interviewer : Inian | Camera : Balaji | Coordination : Venkatesh | Text : Daya Kingston
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Director A. Venkatesh is quite the master of action. With action flicks like Bhagavathi, Maanja Velu, Kuthu and others to his credit, he is eagerly waiting for his next flick Vallakottai to hit the screens. We catch up with the talented director on the film.

Tell us about Vallakottai

Vallakottai was a film that was shot completely with entertainment in mind and made for a family audience. Arjun Sir has a lot of action in his films but in this film comedy was given precedence over action with a 60:40 ratio.

Arjun Sir has a lot of action in his

films but in this film comedy was

given precedence over action

What was the action in the film like?

His introduction was with action. We have placed action in places where it would be enjoyed by the audience and the action sequences were done differently. Arjun paid extra attention to the action scenes as he knows that his fans expect action from him, after all he is known as Action King Arjun.

There were 5 fight sequences, his introduction was a fight scene and in the first half there are 2 other fights. We kept the length correct, neither long enough to bore nor too short. There are 2 fights in the 2nd half and as a director I like his introduction fight the best. Before shooting a fight, usually Arjun Sir discusses it and we plan on how it’s going to be done. Once we reach the spot, he will be fully focused on executing it. At the spot, I don’t ask him to do this or that, I leave the decision to him as he has completed 154 films as hero and knows to handle action well. He is very good at action choreography and the climax and introduction fight sequences are very good. We shot the climax in peak summer. He was wearing a heavy costume but despite that he performed well.

Tell us about the locations you shot

The location for the climax was a very tough place. There was 108 degrees heat. We made a hill of straw, usually it’s just about 9 ft but we made one of 24 ft. It reflected the sun and it was tough even for us. 60% were shot around Ernakulam and we matched some of it with Chennai and the studio. Two songs were canned in Mauritius and one in Ramoji Film City. I cannot forget Ernakulam, the greenery, the backwater, lot of travel in the boat. It’s amazing to think that we have such locations inside India. I was inspired to think of new ideas and felt very enthusiastic.

This story is not one that gives

the heroine importance

What is the role of the heroine Haripriya like?

This story is not one that gives the heroine importance. The importance is for the hero and the heroine does not have much work. However, its not like she just appears in song sequences, the story touches her too. Vallakottai is about an individual; the hero is released from jail and goes to a village named Vallakottai where fishing and allied activities are the mainstay. He comes there to fulfill a promise to his friend and the series of events that take place there are captured. The story revolves around the hero and he happens to meet the heroine who is caught in a problem. The story also tells how he solves it. More than just glamour Haripriya has a role.

Most of your films have two heroines, what about Vallakottai?

True, most of my films have 2 heroines. However, this film has just one but that was all that was needed for my story. Unlike Vallakottai Murugan, this hero has just one heroine.

Unlike Vallakottai Murugan, this

hero has just one heroine

The heroine does not look like

an A. Venkatesh film heroine

Is the heroine Haripriya glamorous in this film?

The heroine does not look like an A. Venkatesh film heroine. She is homely working somewhere and wears a handbag. She is not a glamour doll in the songs also. We had to keep things subdued. She is a heroine who matches the film.

What about romance in the film?

There is not much of love and romances. Haripriya is a heroine suited to the story.

You like Kuthu songs. Are there any?

I do specialize in Kuthu. There are just 3 songs and a theme song. There is a kuthu song titled Sarakku Readya Murukku Readya. Chenozhiye a duet song. Magadheera is an offbeat song. For that we took Kamban’s slogam Anjiley.

I do specialize in Kuthu

Tell us about the music director?

Dina was lucky for the film. This film is going to release on Diwali day. It was supposed to release 2 months ago, first in July and then on August 15th. Since, he had re-recording time in whole of July; he could put in a lot of effort. When you give more time and there is less pressure, the quality increases instantly. He had done a lot of quality enhancement, when I saw it. And there were some portions I wanted to be done differently, he had time to carry that out. I think this film will be the best in his career.

Tell us about your cameraman Anjaneyulu

The cameraman is Anjaneyulu and we call him Anj. He has done one film Odi Polama and was introduced to me by Arjun’s manager. Only while shooting, I came to know that he had shot 10 -12 Telugu films. I came to know that he has even directed a film in Telugu. So though he was new to Tamil he had lot of experience in Telugu and it was not like he was a newcomer. He understood the language of a director, his needs, how to adjust to a producer. He was very helpful.

Have you used any new technology?

No, nowadays people do use DI to enhance the film’s look but we have not used that. Neither have we used a 500 frames camera or motion camera. We used the Jimmy Jip and Steadicam only and did not use the Akila. We have shot beautifully with what was available.

What about editing?

I have spoken about the tremendous work in this film at the audio function. I have seen it with my own eyes. When I observed the editor, I really like his work. In Durai I liked his work. I saw what he had done for this film in the rush cut and then we started working further on it. After he had done two reels, he caught the thread of what I wanted and worked fast and enthusiastically. I was scared he was so fast and wondered whether I would get what I want. But I did. He is a talented editor and wants to do something new and tries. For the song I gave it to the master and did not go abroad. I did not see the rush and wanted him to cut the rush. When I saw it, I was happy, he had polished it manifold.

Why did you cast Suresh in the film?

What is different in this film is Suresh; Karthik had a charm in my previous film; he looks the same. After Angadi Theru, people asked me to act in my own film. They felt that if I did a commercial film, it would be good. However, for the character in this film, I had Prabhu in mind. However, we finally zeroed in on Suresh. He had a shaved look in Asal but we have given him a total makeover.

Are you acting in any films?

Actually I have committed 3 films. I have one starting on in Nov 8 , then January and February, all three have different roles and new directors. Even if it’s my own film where I am doing a character, I want to make sure it will stand out. Initially, when people saw the kind of character I played in Angadi Theru, they scolded me because of the nature of the character. So now, I know their expectations.

What is your view of Behindwoods?

For any update on cinema, I go to Behindwoods and am very happy to share my views on the site. I am happy to share with you on Deepavali especially about Vallakottai. I hope this will be a very special Deepavali, which will light up your life and home. Thanks!

Tags : A. Venkatesh, Vallakottai, Kuthu, Arjun, Maanja Velu
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