I was desperate to impress Anurag: Ajay Gnanamuthu
The Demonte Colony director talks about his upcoming Imaikaa Nodigal that stars Atharvaa, Nayanthara, and… Anurag Kashyap
Ajay Gnanamuthu, the director of Demonte Colony, wrote his upcoming second film, Imaikaa Nodigal, before his first. Initially, it was conceived as a romantic thriller. In 2013, he narrated the script to Atharvaa, but couldn’t find producers. “After completing Demonte Colony, I approached Atharvaa again, and he showed faith in the script. I have revisited the script and changed a few things around,” the director says.
The filmmaker, who claims to be a fan of minimalistic cinema, has “observed the strengths of Nayanthara and Anurag Kashyap, and incorporated them into the script.” Work on the film is almost complete too. “We’ve got just 25 days of work left, and will resume it soon in Chennai and Bengaluru. We’ll finish by the first week of August,” he says.
He is convinced that Imaikaa Nodigal has all the elements needed for a commercial film. “It’s also an intelligent and emotional film. There’s a revenge track, a love story, beautiful songs, and visuals, besides a gripping screenplay. While Nayanthara plays a CBI officer, Atharvaa is playing a doctor and Raashi Khanna, his love interest,” he says.
Naturally, the subject of conversation turns to Nayanthara. “After watching the film, you’ll know why I brought her on board. She plays a bold, caring mother in the film,” he reveals. “Directing her was a terrific experience because she’s always full of energy and positivity. She is also able to get into the skin of her character easily."
The other big casting coup he has pulled off is, of course, bringing in Anurag Kashyap to play the villain. “I wanted a villain who would look unpredictable. In fact, I had Gautham Menon in mind while writing the script, but he got busy with Dhruva Natchathiram, and eventually told me it wasn’t possible for him to allocate dates,” he says. “And then, I saw the trailer of Akira and requested Murugadoss sir to get me an appointment with Anurag Kashyap. I was desperate to impress him.”
Ajay is in awe of Anurag Kashyap. “I was confident of myself until I met him, but the moment I did, I got nervous. I was worried if I’d be judged for my story. But when I began to narrate the script, he got completely involved. In about fifteen minutes, he agreed to do the film!” However, Anurag warned him that he wasn’t really a great actor. “He’s a huge fan of Bala, Vetrimaaran, and Selvaraghavan. He wanted to deliver his lines in Tamil, and didn’t want prompting. He mugged up his lines. It was all so perfect, but he never knew what those lines meant. I promise you there will be no lip-sync issues,” he smiles.
Imaikaa Nodigal has been a great learning experience for Ajay. “I know that I can’t keep banking on the success of Demonte Colony, and so try to treat every film of mine as my debut. Imaikaa Nodigal will be a sure-shot success, and I realised this during the scripting stage. In fact, I’m now spending more time thinking about my next project instead of this one,” he laughs.
Ajay’s dream is to direct Vijay. “When Murugadoss sir completed 7aum Arivu, I told him I was heading to London to study filmmaking. And then, I got to know that he was doing Thuppakki. Despite getting admitted there, I stayed behind as I wanted to work with Vijay. Naan theevira Ilayathalapathy veriyan!”