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Interview Team : Tamil Dharani; Balasaravanan

A budding talent in Tamil Cinema, Yuvaraj Dhayalan began his actions and cuts at the age of 22. Roping in Vadivelu for the second time, he shares his love, passion and emotions with Tamil Dharani during a tete a tete on his latest comedy flick ‘Eli’.



Where did it all start for you?

During my 11th standard, I was part of a drama and I was showered with applause, which gave me a lot of impulse. Besides that I would usually teach the other students to act and that is when I got my first chance at directing a drama. Then, to be frank, I joined Loyola (Visual Communication) for a girl who I loved during my school days. A friend of mine played a prank promising that she had joined Loyola. Later, I came to know that Loyola wasn’t a co-ed and I blasted him for fooling me. I started watching movies then, before that I didn’t even know who Mani Ratnam was. After my college days, I decided that direction is what I want. I felt I am all ready to be a director and I was mentally strong in my decision, that’s when my debut happened through “Potta Potti”. I was 22 when I directed this film, being the youngest director at that time.


I didn’t even know who Mani Ratnam was


Being a director who was one movie old, how was it possible for you to rope in the ‘Vaigai Puyal’?

After Potta Potti, for the next one and a half years, I didn’t know what to do. A senior most artist saw Potta Potti, called me up and asked me to get ready with a script. I prepared a script named ‘Birbal’ and when I approached him he said this would perfectly suit Vadivelu. My editor Raja Mohan forwarded the script to Vadivelu. When I entered his office, I changed the name of the movie as ‘Tenali Raman’ and then I started narrating the script which lasted for about an hour, and then after a week I gave him a full narration. Usually we narrate a story for a maximum of 3 hours but I narrated this one across a week spanning 3 to 4 hours per day. As and when I narrated, he would act immediately and ask me suggestions to improve his performance. After a week, he was very happy with the script and then Tenali Raman happened.


When I entered his office, I changed the name of the movie as ‘Tenali Raman’


Why ‘Vaigai Puyal’ again? Is there a sentiment that you maintain with him?

No such sentiments. When I did Tenali Raman, we had a good understanding and developed a comfort zone. Many people said it’s not that easy to move with him as he is a big artist but it was nothing of that sort. He reads my mind well, delivering whatever I expect and we grew a good rapport together. There was a perfect wavelength between us and we didn’t face any difficulty while making Eli.


Many people said it’s not that easy to move with him


Is comedy your forte or it happens just like that ?

To be true, I didn’t enter this industry to do a comedy film. I came to do only serious movies. Even now I don’t know how it happened. I always wished to do movies like Anbe Sivam, Agni Natchathiram and I felt comedy is all fool’s play but all of a sudden everything changed. I did Potta Potti just out of compulsion, as a newcomer I utilized the chance and after Potta Potti I gained the confidence to try out the comedy genre. Then I began watching lots of Crazy Mohan movies, refering his comedy formula and I read several books to develop my comedy sense. Comedy is a kind of calculation and it became easy for me.


I felt comedy is all fool’s play


Eli is set in the 1960s and it’s a spy movie. I can nowhere link this character with Vadivelu?

It was actually a serious story. After that when I wanted to do a movie with Vadivelu sir, I didn’t even have a thought of using this script. Out of the blue, I questioned myself why should I do it in a serious mode, and then it was all changed. If you take Pink Panther, it’s a detective story told with oodles of humour but this is not even a detective story it’s just a police informer. This character doesn’t go in search of anything or find anything new, he just collects information and reports it.


I didn’t even have a thought of using this script


People would burst out for a single reaction of Vadivelu! Have there been any funny incidents during the shoot?

Plenty. I have even dropped myself from the chair. The fact is that he laughs at his own jokes and enjoys them. Vadivelu admires himself and laughs out loud after each shot. On the sets of Eli, we had a laugh riot.


Vadivelu admires himself and laughs out loud after each shot.


The industry has been seeing a lot of directors turning out to be actors. Do you have any plans ?

I have learnt a lot of acting from Vadivelu sir. My acting skills have developed in recent times but with these I cannot become a wholesome actor. Vadivelu would always say, “Nalla Nadikira Nee” , I love acting but lets see...



Though cliched, every director would dream to work with some actor and that would be?

That would definitely be Karthik and Prabhu sir for their performance in Agni Natchathiram. I wish I was born at that time. But I feel I am gifted to work with Vadivelu sir for the second time. We have plans for a hat-trick too. When I am done with the script I would definitely do it.


We have plans for a hat-trick too


Vadivelu’s punch dialogues

Vadivelu has come up with a lot of punches in the movie. For the next 5 years social media would be flooded with Eli dialogues. For example, “Why torture me? “(Vadivelu’s tone) is gonna be raved about in the social media. It wouldn’t work out for me or you but it would definitely be a hit when Vadivelu tones it.


For the next 5 years social media would be flooded with Eli dialogues.





Vadivelu - A Gift to Tamil Cinema Audience


Eli - Comedy


Tenali Raman -  I can’t explain it in words, it’s just close to my heart.


If not a director - Mmmm…..A Movie Lover


Sadha - Personal favourite of mine. She is a perfectionist and a great dancer.


Favourite Contemporary Directors - Moodar Koodam ‘Naveen’ , Rajathandhiram ‘A.G Amid’, Mundasupatti ‘Ram’, Jigarthanda ‘Karthik Subbaraj’ and the list continues...


Favourite Yesteryear Directors - Bhagyaraj, Pandiraj, Selvaraghavan, Dharani.


Dream project - I am a great fan of Vijay but I have planned it for Ajith. I am working on the script. Let’s see….






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