Exclusive! Seththumaan director Thamizh talks about his upcoming film starring Uriyadi Vijayakumar

After the tremendous reach of her critically acclaimed debut film

Seththumaan,

director Thamizh has already finished filming his next film with

Uriyadi

Vijay Kumar in the lead. In

Seththumaan

(2022), he created a unique cinematic language to deliver his message. Most of the scenes were composed in one shot. The film won numerous awards at film festivals around the world even before its release and had moviegoers and audiences eagerly awaiting.

Seththumaan
was produced by Pa Ranjith’s Neelam Productions, which got the attention it needed in the industry. They came out

Seththumaan

on the Sony LIV OTT platform directly without theatrical release. The movie turned out to be very good and people loved it for its content and direction. It was very well received by the public and word of mouth was the only advertising tool that allowed the film to reach a wider audience. In his busy post-production schedule, the director

Thamizh

gave an exclusive interview to

FilmiBeat
.

Here are the excerpts from the interview with exclusive on-location work footage from his upcoming film.

What is the story of your next film?

The story tells how politics harms the lives of normal people in the small villages and panchayats of Tamil Nadu. It also deals with families, ego and revenge.

Why did you choose

Uriyadi

director Vijay Kumar in the lead?

I felt he was an actor who could easily understand the politics involved in this story since he directed

Uriyadi,

which is a brilliant political film. When I told him the script, he liked it very much as I expected and the film happened.

Who are the other important actors in your new film?

Pavel Navageethan has a leading role in this movie. Preethi Asrani, Richa Joshi, Mariam George and Vathikuchi Diliban play meaty roles. Apart from them, I introduced a lot of new actors in this film. All of them are simply brilliant with their performances. They will create their own space in the industry for sure.

What kind of films do you want to make in the future?

I want to make films for me. When I start thinking about satisfying someone else, I start losing my satisfaction and eventually I go back to my way of doing it. Whereas I’m extremely happy and enjoying the whole process when I’m making movies in a way that I love. My films are based on the life of normal people, which is too close to reality and I always want to make such films.

How do you select your actors?

Half of my job is when I select the right actors. It’s a long process. Sometimes I made some changes in the cast even a day before shooting and it helped me a lot. I need interesting and unique faces for my films. It will be surprising to the public. I will only choose an actor when I am convinced by his looks and his performance.

Where did you shoot your next film and why?

Writer Azhagiya Periyavan and his friend Ezhil, who is a school teacher, helped a lot in finding the perfect locations for this film. Arangaldurgam near Ambur is the scenery of the film. We shot almost 90% of the film in Arangaldurgam and the rest in Pernambut. We incorporated Arangaldurgam slang into the script since we placed the story there.

How did actor Pavel Navageethan get there?

After having watched

Seththumaan,

Pavel met me and enjoyed the film. At that time, I already had an actor for that particular role. Over a period of time, for some reason, this actor couldn’t do it. So again, I went looking for actors and I was not satisfied with anyone. Suddenly, Pavel came to mind. As I already know its proven performance in

Madras,

Kutram Kadithal,

Magalir Mattum
,

Boumika

and many other films, I approached him immediately. He read the script and said yes within days. I felt so happy about it and started working. Right from rehearsals, his effort and support for the film was tremendous. His suggestions and improvements really added a lot of value to the film. He’s one of those actors who will adapt to any given situation on set. I could say that this movie gave Pavel an asset to all of us. We won it.

Pavel Navageethan and Vijay Kumar are also directors. So they will naturally give a lot of suggestions. I like to discuss with them and finally make my decision.

Seththumaan

Who are the main technicians working on your next film?

Mahendran Jayaraj is the director of photography. He has already worked on

96
, a blockbuster movie. CS Premkumar is our film editor. He edited my previous film

Seththumaan,

National award-winning film

Kutram Kadithal
,

Magali Mattum,

home owner, and much more. Govind Vasantha is the music composer and Stunner Sam is our stunt choreographer. Radhika and Sri Krish did dance choreography for us. The dialogues were written by Azhagiya Periyavan, Vijay Kumar and me. I wrote the script and directed the film.

Can you explain the pre-production and production process?

It took us 10 months to find the perfect locations and 25 days to complete the rehearsals. It became possible for us to shoot the film in a single 62-day schedule only because of our well-planned pre-production. I can assure you that it saved at least 10% of our overall production costs. The villagers were too supportive and they made us feel like one of them during production.

Seththumaan

What was your experience working with writers Perumal Murugan and Azhagiya Periyavan?

For this film, as I don’t know the slang of the Arangaldurgam people, I approached the writer Azhagiya Periyavan for the dialogues.

Seththumaan

was a combination of two short stories, Varukari and Maapu Kodukkonum Saamy, written by Perumal Murugan. He also wrote the dialogues for the film. I am grateful to the two screenwriters for their extraordinary work in my films. They have contributed a lot to the Tamil community with their literature. Personally, I consider them my teachers.

Seththumaan

How has your journey in the film industry been so far?

Director Cheran was my inspiration to get into film. I worked with director Venkat Prabhu in

Biriyani.

Pa Ranjith is the most important person in my journey. He trusted me and produced my film

Seththumaan.

His name as a producer helped promote the film a lot. And now I’m done shooting my next film produced by Reel Good Films with

Uriyadi

Vijay Kumar in the lead.

What advice would you give to independent filmmakers and future producers?

Pa Ranjith was there to produce for me, but that’s not going to happen to everyone. According to me, if someone has only Rs 50 lakh and invests everything to make a movie, it is not advisable. At the same time, I will appreciate if anyone has Rs 10 crore and is willing to invest Rs 50 lakh in a movie. Because this world filled with Tamil cinema lobbies is too dangerous for an independent filmmaker to survive.

Seththumaan

What’s your take on the recent box office flops across all film industries?

Nowadays, people are looking for movies with unique and interesting content, but most producers don’t focus on content. Instead, they only focus on popular actors. I see this as the main reason for continued box office flops. I’m sure if a movie is good, people will celebrate it.

What’s your take on the Bollywood versus South Indian films debate?

I love movies like

The lunch box

and

Kahaani.

But nowadays, I can’t find such movies in Bollywood. They try to only make big budget movies with mediocre content. While in South India, especially in the Malayalam industry, a lot of low budget movies are made with brilliant scripts.

Seththumaan

Keep reading Filmibeat for more exclusive interviews like this!

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