Aaruthra will feel like a Shankar film: Pa Vijay
The lyricist-turned-filmmaker talks about his second directorial, which hits the screens this Friday
Pa Vijay stepped into direction with Strawberry (2015), that spoke about problems with the educational system. Three years later, the lyricist-turned-filmmaker is back with Aaruthra, a film that again takes on a serious issue concerning children: child abuse. Vijay feels his film is timely, given the ‘alarming increase in the frequency of child abuse reports’. "Child abuse is a serious issue and Aaruthra speaks in depth about it. Despite being a commercial film, the message I've tried to convey will definitely leave an impact on adolescents and parents, and give them clarity,” he says. “I know schools have awareness pamphlets being distributed to inform children about good touch and bad touch, but I’m not sure about their efficacy. Also, there are thousands of government schools across Tamil Nadu that don’t even get covered by such campaigns. Cinema, however, reaches everyone."
This is his second project about problems faced by children. "I feel the fruits of all the social reforms we are talking about now will be reaped by the youngsters of today. It’s important to raise them in a positive environment. I want all children to be aware of issues like sexual abuse. It’s this that drove me to make Aaruthra," says Vijay, adding, "Incidentally, after the release of Strawberry, there were no major accidents involving school kids. Somehow, not too many of them happened. Similarly, after Aaruthra, I hope that no child gets sexually abused."
About the choice to make Aaruthra a commercial entertainer, he says, "When I began scripting, I had the option of making it as a docu-drama or an entertainer. I choose the latter as I felt that such a noble message has to reach a wider audience. I'd say that Aaruthra can be placed under Shankar sir's brand of films."
Vijay has directed, acted, produced and written the lyrics in this film. "I willingly took up the responsibilities, but never knew it would be this difficult. However, from the moment I started, I was very determined not to share the burden with others. I didn't want to produce the film initially, but I had to take up the role due to certain reasons."
He describes Aaruthra as a film driven by its characters. "At no point will the audience feel that it is a film about a single hero. Only after the interval, does the main character become prominent. This helped me juggle all my responsibilities effectively."
K Bhagyaraj, who plays the role of a detective in Aaruthra, introduced Vijay as a lyricist through his film Gnanapazham (1996). Vijay says, "It was both a proud and scary journey for me to cast him. Directing Bhagiyaraj sir needs a lot of skill. He wouldn't step in front of the camera until we justified the scene and explained it in detail. His inputs for the screenplay and his contributions as an actor gave an amazing boost to this film." He also goes on to talk about SA Chandrasekar, the other veteran director who has acted in the film. "SAC sir is very calm as an actor. We initially considered Sathyaraj or Prakash Raj to play my father's role, but somehow I felt that making a director like SAC sir act in the film will add a new dimension to it. After wrapping the shoot, he said, 'Till now people saw me only as SAC on screen. But for the very first time, they will see me as a character in Aaruthra'."
Vijay’s next working on a historical film, “and it demands an actor with some star status. So, I won’t be acting in it.” The lyricist-director had to reduce his writing work for other films, in making Aaruthra. "But as the film is set for release this Friday, I've begun writing songs for films like Sundar C's next with Simbu, and Seyali. People can expect to hear a lot of songs written by me."