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Interview Team : Jyothsna

Horror thriller is the order of the day and we have Demonte Colony directed by Ajay Gnanamuthu hitting the screens soon. Ajay takes his direction lessons from A R Murugadoss and has worked with him in 7aum Arivu and Thuppakki. In a relaxed chat with Jyothsna Bhavanishankar, Ajay talks about his mentor A R Murugadoss and all about his first film Demonte Colony.


You have come from AR Murugadoss School. What did you learn from him?


I learnt the nuances of script writing from director A R Murugadoss. He will always think from the audience point of view and will keep questioning to improvise the plot. He believes that before the audience questions us, we should question ourselves and clog all the loopholes. I learnt this from Murugadoss sir.  


On the spot we have always had the creative freedom and Murugadoss sir would just supervise us. His pattern was to guide us while giving a lot of independence which in itself was a learning experience. We would understand his expectations when he mentions the corrections. 

I learnt the nuances of script writing from director A R Murugadoss


Your experience working in Thuppakki


It was an enjoyable experience working in Thuppakki. The interval block shoot, in a normal film, would have at least 80 odd people working with a well planned scheme in action. But in Thuppakki, this scene was shot in a different manner. We first went to the place of shoot and kept our cameras. When we were ready, we used to call Vijay sir who would come along with his other mates with suits and we would start recording. It was almost like an undercover operation and we all enjoyed it. It was very interesting and the shoot for this segment went on for 20 days.

It was like an undercover operation


How was Demonte Colony conceived?


Actually as a script, I had a different one. I wanted a haunted house for it and was wondering if I should create one and then tell a flashback for it or if I should have an actual spooky place. If the place was real, I felt it would up the curiosity level for sure.


We searched for Chennai’s most haunted places and we got two places-one in Valmiki Nagar, Thiruvanmiyur and the other one was Demonte Colony. I realized that Thiruvanmiyur’s history was quite flat and uninteresting whereas Demonte Colony gave a lot of exciting information and a period color. The place had witnessed the life of somebody who had lived in 19th century with a disturbed existence. Therefore, we decided to work on this and manipulate it further.  We got a different antagonist, researched further and honed it. 

We searched for Chennai’s most haunted places 


The spooky incidents while shooting De Monte Colony


It would be hard to believe but as a team we all had experienced quite a few unexplainable things while shooting Demonte Colony. Film’s hard disc crashed; we wandered around a lot for film’s rushes; there were times where hero had to act scared but there was something spooky in the air that he really got scared and many more. Somehow, we completed the shoot and today we are ready for the release




My film is not a big commercial one per se with hero, song, fight, dance etc. Of course, entertainment factors are there in it. The script was such that the hero carries the film on his shoulders single handedly. Hero alone will be there in the frame and he has to engage the audience. So we wanted someone who would do serious portions and also willing to experiment. The first unanimous choice for my team was Arulnithi. I had seen Mounaguru where Arulnithi had done intense scenes quite effortlessly. Hence I approached him. He listened to the story and okayed it at once. 

The first unanimous choice for my team was Arulnithi


Why is there no woman character in the film?


The story is based on the life of four roommates. We did not require a female lead in this. But having said that, there IS a woman character in the film. We have kept that as a surprise. 


Besides Arulnithi, who else is there?


Along with Arulnithi, there are three friends who will be with him. Soodhu Kavvum Ramesh Thilak is one of them. And there is Sanath who has featured in one of the short films of Bench Talkies. Abishek, a theatre artist, is the other friend who has delivered a superb performance in the film. 


Finnish actor


The main antagonist of the film is a foreigner. We did not want the usual looking foreigner but were keen on someone who is tall with a casual style; somebody with a villainous face and a sinisterly look about him. Through an agency we got Antil Jaaskalinen, who is 6 feet 9 inches tall and he has fulfilled all our conditions. 

We got Antil Jaaskalinen, who is 6 feet 9 inches tall


Technical crew


Aravinnd Singh, the cinematographer and Bhuvan Srinivasan, the editor are my friends. We had made up a pact kind of thing when we were assisting our respective leads that when we make a film, we all should collaborate. Aravinnd, Santhosh Sivan’s associate and Bhuvan, Sreekar Prasad’s associate and I had worked in Thuppakki. So comfort levels were high.


As regards art direction, we wanted to create sets that should not let themselves reveal that they are made up ones. We zeroed in on Santhanam sir who is known for recreating believable locales. When I narrated the story to him, he immediately agreed and helped us with references for the same.


Keba Jeremiah


Madan Karky introduced Keba to me. Keba made his film entry as James Vasanthan’s assistant in Subramaniapuram but had worked as the guitarist for Rahman sir in Rockstar. As a guitarist, Keba is at a different level. If you listen to his audio track without knowing any details, you would definitely say this is an exponent’s work. When I narrated the script to Keba, at one point, he was scared and asked me to tone down my volume! For Keba, this is his debut film and he has brought in that ‘chill’ factor in Demonte Colony through his work.

Keba has brought in that ‘chill’ factor in Demonte Colony through his work


Anirudh and Imman


Anirudh and Imman have sung one song each in Demonte Colony. The song that Anirudh had sung required a young voice with a lot of attitude and casualness. Keba approached him and Anirudh agreed. The next day, he came and sang the song. Imman sir also obliged and rendered a number.

Anirudh and Imman have sung one song each in Demonte Colony


Producer’s contribution


My producers gave me extreme freedom to work on what I wanted. Thenandal Murali sir encouraged us a lot. All my requirements were immediately met with. They had earlier released horror movies like Aranmanai, Pisaasu and Kanchana 2. So the next horror movie in this list is Demonte Colony. Their horror films are always successful and it kind of gives confidence and hope that Demonte Colony also will follow suit.


Wishing the best to Ajay and team Demonte colony!!





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