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Interview Team : Kaushik L M
Director Balaji K Kumar has bagged a place in the list of most promising directors to emerge from the industry this year, thanks to the impact that his first Tamil movie Vidiyum Munn has created among the audiences.
Balaji Kumar is a big fan of Satyajit Ray's brand of simple movies and believes in extensive pre-production and scripting. He says "You are only as good as your paperwork" 
We caught up with the director even as he was busy with a few media commitments for the movie, along with his lead actors Pooja and Vinoth Kishan.


Are you happy with the way Vidiyum Munn has been received?

The response from the media has been terrific and though there are many new releases lined up in the coming weeks, I am planning at scheduling some shows of Vidiyum Munn strategically based on the area.

I am happy that I have made an engaging movie even though it is not in the traditional entertainment format. Even the comedy in the movie is layered and grows on you. Audiences who see the movie a second or third time will get to appreciate the lighthearted nature of some of the scenes.

Don’t you believe in the tried and test ‘song and dance’ entertainment routines?

Song and dance routines were needless for Vidiyum Munn and even in future, if I make a commercial movie with a big star like Vijay, I will make sure that there aren't needless song and dance sequences. There are many directors who follow such a template and I want to deliver different commercial entertainers. I will experiment if I get someone like Vijay on board.

Take us through the scripting process of Vidiyum Munn

I totally had 38 drafts of the Vidiyum Munn script and sat with it for about 9 months. I saw many documentaries on human trafficking and decided to make a film with a female protagonist and based it on prostitution. 'Role Reversal' was the crux of the film.
The initial script that I wrote for Vidiyum Munn was a 'whydunit' based on the concept of 'role reversal' and it turned out to be very violent and brutal. When I pitched this idea to a few of my friends, one of them suggested that another movie also had a similar theme but with a more toned down approach. This said movie was also based on ‘Role Reversal’ and had a running time of just around 85 minutes.

Could you hit upon the comments about your work being inspired?

I was inspired from several sources and the said movie was definitely one of them. I have obtained the necessary nod from the parties concerned.

Please tell us about the plethora of newcomers that you have introduced in the movie

I have introduced so many new talents through Vidiyum Munn be it the cinematographer Sivakumar Vijayan, the editor Sathyaraj Natarajan or the costume designer. This was also the art director Edward Kalaimani and music composer Girishh's second movies respectively. The dialog writers, Abraham and Mithran, are also first timers and so is the producer Javed Khayum. The colorist was also a first timer and so were all my assistants. We have all made sure that there was perfect synergy between the audio and visual components.

Were all your cast members your first choice?

Pooja was my first choice to do the role but I thought that she had quit cinema and settled down. I decided to go ahead with a Bollywood face but since she was busy with another project, she couldn't take it up. That's when I came to know that Pooja was very much available to do films and went back happily, to cast her.
A friend of mine suggested Malavika's name and I was stunned by her skills, when I saw her on a clipping of the TV talent show 'Mammootty The Best Actor Award'. She acted as a blind girl and won the first prize.

I picked up Vinoth Kishan after seeing Naan Mahaan Alla and in the entire movie he wouldn't blink his eyes.

What next?

For my next, I don't have any casting choices yet and I am open to any extraordinary idea. I am in the process of reading good Tamil novels in the hope of striking a great idea. The current knot that I have is more suited to Hollywood than Kollywood and I feel Tamil Nadu is not ready yet, for such an idea.
Behindwoods wishes Balaji on all his future endeavors and we are sure that he would come up with something equally interesting in his second Tamil venture too.



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