Sense of a Scene: Laughter on the dance floor- CS Amudhan talks about the Shiva's dance sequence in Thamizh Padam
In this week 's column, director CS Amudhan talks about the hilarious dance sequence of Shiva in Thamizh Padam
"The plan was to shoot a clumsy dance sequence featuring Shiva and make sure that his moves don't sync with the song. We hadn't seen him in action till then, and had only heard stories about his dancing prowess. But when we went for the take, all of us got stunned and he exceeded all our expectations. I've been friends with him for many years but it's still difficult to tag him as a particular kind of dancer. His dance form is something beyond what's being practised till date.
As the audience knows, this particular sequence is inspired by Prabhudheva sir's performance in Kaadhalan. When we saw it for the first time, we didn't anticipate his character to deliver such a performance. It had a certain surprise value. We used the same factor for humour here. Buildup and drop is the format I use for spoofs. We give serious build-up for a scene just like the original films before dropping the reveal to the audience. In this scene, one would have ideally expected a pretty girl's face as the end result, but we showed them a chimpanzee.
The dance moves in the sequence is a team effort. Shiva came up with the bowling part himself and I asked him to do the banana peeling and floating-fish step. The portion where he intentionally exits and enters the frame is inspired by Rowan Ankitson's Mr Bean. Evlo abaththama panna mudiyumo, avlo abaththama pannanum apdingardhu dhaan ore aim. The funniest part is, we had a dance assistant for backup. He was initially clueless about what was going on and after a point, he understood that we are doing nothing similar to 'dance' and sat in a corner.
The 'Ore iravil Bharathanaatiyam katrukolvadhu epadi?' book was made exclusively for this scene. We collected illustrations of mudhras and made it into a mock book. I gave random additions like Disha Pandey's Priya holding a DVD of Veerasamy and the parallel track of MS Bhaskar learning to prepare Briyani to make the scene funnier as I knew that nobody would question me. If it was a normal film, the filmmakers should be bothered about continuity and logic. But I had no boundaries. If someone from the audience had raised a question about the randomness, I would have simply said "Ivlo neram neenga logic partheengala?"
We didn't use the same dialogue from the original films, except for this particular scene. The dialogue Shiva says right after the performance is pretty similar to Prabhudheva's, "Ne ivlo naal kathita bharadhatha ore naal la kathuttu aadren na... un mela evlo love irukanum..." I just changed it to "Indha alavu aadren naan." Shiva himself found this extremely funny as all of us had seen 'endha alavuku' he could perform. He kept laughing towards the end of the take and we took 13 takes for the final out.
Since what we were doing was completely new to Tamil cinema, we had no barometers to predict our film's success. This sequence gave us the faith that our film would be received well by the audience. Apart from Shiva and Disha, every actor had to work on only two or three-days of call sheet. They would just come to the spot, do their part and leave. Most of them thought they were trapped with a gang of lunatics. None of the artistes gave us the assurance that we were proceeding in the right path. But this scene changed everything for us.
The reception of this scene in the first installment gave us the push to come up with the dance face-off in Thamizh Padam 2.0. When we where thinking of a conflict between the hero and villain, 'dance' was the first thing that struck our mind. So we came up with a fictitious backstory and made him the founder of Bharatham, Bharathamunivar.
People often ask me why other filmmakers hadn't laid their hands on the spoof genre I don't know. Spoof is a genre and anyone can make such a film. I would love to watch a spoof made by another director as we will finally have something to measure up to or compare."
(As told to Navein Darshan)