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Director Dwarakh Raja, promising Tamil filmmaker is preparing for the release of his second feature film
Word. The trailer has already been released with Makkal Selvan Vijay Sethupathi’s voiceover and created a strong buzz around the film in the industry. Only a few movies will catch the audience’s attention with its interesting storyline and
easily falls into the category with brilliant actors Linga and RS Karthik playing the lead roles. Amidst his busy post-production work, the director gave an exclusive interview to FilmiBeat about his upcoming movie.
What is the history of parole?
They are two brothers from Vyasarpadi, who are worlds apart, which creates a sibling rivalry. Older brother Karikalan, a potentially dangerous killer by profession, is in prison with a double life sentence for his criminal background. The sudden and unexpected death of their mother Aarayi, creates a critical situation for younger brother Kovalan to break his older brother Karikalan out of prison. That Kovalan really tried to get Karikalan released on parole with all the hate against him is the crux of the story. The story has its own emotions, family drama and action sequences.
Is it based on a true story? And why did you choose Vyasarpadi?
Yes, it’s almost based on a true story. I went to Vyasarpadi for the search process for another script of mine. There I heard a glimpse of this story which was really interesting to me. A mother died on a Friday and her son was in jail. He struggled a lot but couldn’t get out to see his mother until Monday. Although I have already completed 3 days of shooting for this script, I immediately put it aside and started working on this line with proper permission from my producer.
What is the reason behind pure Tamil names Karikalan, Kovalan & Aarayi on parole?
There is an interesting story behind it. In Vyasarpadi, there are three main localities named A-Kalyanapuram, B-Kalyanapuram and C-Kalyanapuram. A-Kalyanapuram is an area where all residents have belonged to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam political party for many years. During the period of Kalaignar Karunanidhi, he used to name the children of the locality. Since he is a great Tamil scholar, he chose names for children only from famous works of Tamil literature. I heard about this true story and incorporated names like Karikalan and Kovalan into my characters. In fact, I personally know two real brothers there with the same names Karikalan and Kovalan. But that’s not their story. And I got the name Aarayi from Karupar Nagaram written by Karan Karki.
Tell us about your actors who played the main characters in your next Word film
Linga played Karikalan in
Word. I know him since a long time. We became great friends from the first day of shooting my first short film. He played a role in my first feature film
Kadhal Kasakuthaiya. After which, I finished my second screenplay and approached Linga for the lead role. He said yes to that too, but I put the movie aside like I said before and found
script. Again my first choice was the Linga. I wrote Kovalan’s character with him in mind, but after seeing his performance in
Sindubad, I changed my mind and did it like Karikalan. He always believed in me and gave his best.
RS Karthik was a sudden surprise for me. A lot of the actors I asked Kovalan for weren’t ready to do it because the character has a gray tint. In fact, Kovalan is a kind-hearted person, but the situation around him paints him as a villain. And it is very difficult to pull off the character on the screen. But Karthik, who is such an energetic person by nature, transformed a lot to play the totally contrasting role of Kovalan with minimal expressions and subtle yet powerful body language. We also looked a lot for the role of mother Aarayi. We were looking for a good performer as well as a new face for the role since we had bold and challenging sequences for her in the script. And luckily, we had Janaki, a brilliant actress who then rose to prominence with her role as Ajith Kumar’s sister-in-law in Valimai.
Vinothini Vaidhiyanathan is already a famous and busy artist. I approached her for a role of judge with only one scene. But she asked me to tell the full script and based on her own interest she chose to play this lawyer character. Then I rewrote the character and she loved it. Lastly, it took us 7 days to finish her portions and she just exceeded our expectations.
Monisha and Kalpika played female leads for Kovalan and Karikalan respectively. I selected them for their expressive eyes and they did their job very well. Both were already familiar faces in Tamil and Telugu films. Although Monisha had few scenes in the film, she will soon create her own place in the industry with her brilliant performance. Kalpika worked hard for almost a month to prepare and bring out the Sourashtra slang for her role in this film. Apart from them, we introduced nearly 30 new faces to the film.
How Makkal Selvan Vijay Sethupathi came on board this project?
Vijay Sethupathi watched
during Vikram’s break from filming and he loved it. We approached him for the voiceover of an opening and ending narration sequence for the film. He immediately said he would and it was a great gift for us. He has never failed to support good films and up-and-coming talent.
What do you expect from an actor?
I will always look for actors who can convey the perfect emotions through the eyes. I will say that Linga is the best and identified his promising talent on the first day of shooting my short film Vellai Pookal, which happened almost 10 years ago. Then I will see the physical appearance and rewrite the character for the actor if necessary.
What kind of movies do you want to make?
I want to tell stories that inspire me from my own perspective, satisfying current generation audiences. I am an atheist but I will not write my characters forcefully as atheists. I never wanted to write my films according to my personal interests and my ideologies. For me the story has to be interesting and of course I will focus on the morality of my characters. And I will always look for a classic quality in my stories. In
Word, the misunderstanding between siblings gave me this quality and I played with it a lot. Mother Aarayi will be the only one for them to control their emotions and suddenly upon her death the plot automatically takes on its own mileage. It will easily connect with the audience and add more weight to the drama of the film.
Who are the important parole technicians?
The first music composer Rajkumar did an amazing job in the movie. He was a programmer with composer Dharan Kumar and I have known him since my first film
Kadhal Kasakuthaiya. Our choice of music was almost the same. We tried to bring a western element to the music and he sent me a lot of demo tracks over a period of a year for the movie.
Word. Based on the suspense achieved in its music, I re-edited the film to maintain the suspense in the visuals as well. There are six songs on the album but we will have them as tracks in the film. Only one song will be fully used in the film.
Also for cinematographer Mahesh Thirunavukarasu, this is the first film. He worked as associate cinematographer in my previous film. We are both from Perambur. We heard adult stories about Vyasarpadi and Integral Coach Factory. It was therefore very comfortable to work with him. Editor Munees is shooting his second film with me after
Kadhal Kasakuthaiya. We followed a complete non-linear editing style to
Word. Since there are a lot of characters and almost all of them were new faces, it’s the editor’s job to make the movie easier for the audience to understand. We also have three timelines for the story and Munees did a great job.
What is your advice to future filmmakers?
My first movie didn’t do well at the box office. I haven’t found a real producer for my next film. I tried for almost 4 years and had planned to go for a 9 to 6 job due to some financial situations. But my friend and producer of this film believed in me and asked me to come up with a script within a given budget. I saw a lot of Anurag Kashyap videos and started working on a reverse process. We chose good actors first and then we identified places near Vyasarpadi, where I have many friends who could help me get permits to shoot without any problem. Then I wrote the script of
within the given budget and my producer liked it. So this reverse process worked for me and now we are ready with our movie.
Article first published: Friday, September 16, 2022, 4:26 p.m. [IST]