'Vivegam demanded a lot of homework'
Kabilan Vairamuthu, who’s co-written Vivegam, says he owes his family everything
Despite being the son of Vairamuthu and publishing his first book at 18, Kabilan didn’t really think he would get into the film industry. He actually studied engineering and worked in a software firm in Tidel Park for a few years. “One day, I suddenly woke up to the realisation that it wasn’t my cup of tea and that’s when I shifted to media, a field that interested me for years. I took off to Australia to do a course called Communication for Social Change,” he says.
When he got back to India, he became a founding producer of a TV channel where he anchored programmes. And then, finally came the transition into films, when he began writing lyrics. Soon, he began pitching in with screenplays. KV Anand’s Kavan was based on his novel Meinigari. And now, he has landed the biggie: Vivegam.
So how did he become a part of the Ajith film? “Siva sir told me the genre and said he was looking for a writer to contribute. He had the story knot, and from there, we (Kabilan, Siva and Aadhi Narayanan, who also wrote Veeram and Vedhalam) expanded on it.”
Vivegam is completely different from his first film, he says. “Kavan was about the media industry, which I was quite familiar with. But Vivegam, being an international spy thriller, was new to everyone in the crew. It required that we do a lot of homework.” Kabilan has also written two songs for the film—Kadhalaada and another melody which hasn’t been released yet.
On working with Ajith, he says he didn’t really. “I spent very little time with him on the sets in Bulgaria and Hyderabad, but we still managed to discuss a variety of topics including decision-making. It was really nice talking to him. I also got to see him doing the bike chase and fight sequences. Theatrele pakurathu oru experience, aana nerle pakurathu is a different thing altogether.”
Was it challenging to work on a commercial film? Kabilan isn’t comfortable with the coinage, ‘commercial’. “Audiences have evolved and their thought process is changing; so these labels are moot. However, while doing a big budget film, the challenge is to address all type of audiences. Fortunately, such films are Siva sir’s forte. I’ve only tried to add a bit of value to his already mighty experience.”
The young writer heaps more praise on the director. “He is used to what is called Ajithism. So he took care of addressing Ajith sir’s fans, with the punch dialogues and the mass moments. It left me free to focus on the story.”
The teaser hinted that Vivegam could deal with bioterrorism but Kabilan refutes speculation that it’s related to his first novel, Boomerang Bhoomi, which was based on global terrorism. “Vivegam is more about an anti-social group. We see a number of films as we grow up and inspirations are inevitable. Not just Hollywood films such as Mission Impossible, and Fast and Furious, even classic Jai Shankar films were full of stylish action. As a team, we’ve tried to come up with unique content. In addition to Ajith, the script is Vivegam’s USP, and it’s a race against time. Hence the title design that’s derived from a digital clock.”
He’s also excited about how the other characters have been etched. “Each role has its own weightage. Vivek Oberoi has done a stunning job. His stylishness has come out well. Akshara Haasan’s character is also important. I don’t think she can get a better debut in Tamil than this.”
Kabilan says he owes his family everything. “Whatever I do is all about the Tamil language. Appa played a major role in it. Amma is also a poet, and thatha was a Tamil professor.” He also says he’s completely different from his brother, Madhan Karky. “The difference between us is the difference between knowledge and emotions.”
The writer is glad that the director-writer collaborative model is back, after a brief hiatus. With a line up of fifteen plus films in his kitty as a lyricist, he is also working on the screenplay for quite a few films. He also says that he doesn’t have the interest in other branches of cinema as he wants to focus more on writing. “One of the films I’m working on is a big, big film. I’ll be announcing it soon.”