Intellectual cinema isn't my thing
Adhik Ravichandran shares what it has been like to direct Simbu in AAA, which is releasing this month
Director Adhik Ravichandran had high hopes that after his debut directorial venture, Trisha Illana Nayanthara (TIN), all the top heroes would be vying to work with him, but that didn’t happen. Simbu was the only leaing actor to encourage him. “I was apprehensive before the release of my debut film. But it was Simbu who told me that the film would do well. Eventually, we began discussing ideas and that’s how Anbanavan Asaradhavan Adangadhavan (AAA) happened,” he recalls.
The script was written specifically for the actor. Ask him why, and he says, “Most of the actors feared that I’d make an adult film again. Nobody understood that a film like TIN was just a gateway into the film industry. Simbu realised my potential and believed in me.” The way he talks, I can’t help but point out, he sounds a lot like Simbu. He laughs, “Avar kooda iruken-la, adhan.”
Adhik says the shooting for AAA is all done save for a song, which will be shot in EVP, a city-based theme park. Ask him about the sudden plans to make a sequel to the film, and he smiles, “Usually, in many films, a sequel is forced. Whereas, ours is not. Part-2 will be a continuation of the story, and will resume from exactly where it ends. We’ve been shooting simultaneously and 60 per cent of the sequel is complete. We are retaining all the artistes.”
As a filmmaker, Adhik thinks he should “be different. I think TIN is GV Prakash’s best performance till date. Nobody expected him to do such a bold film. In the same way, AAA will be special in Simbu’s career. He didn’t mind doing Ashwin thatha when I told him the script. I think apart from Kamal Haasan, he’s the only one who can play such a character,” he says.
The conversation veers to Simbu’s reputation as a difficult actor to work with, and Adhik turns serious. “I don’t understand why people say that about him. He’s a gem of a person. Like every actor, he has his own style and method of working. At what time he comes in shouldn’t bother anyone as long as the work gets done. Once he wears the make-up, he gets into the skin of the character automatically. For instance, we had night shoots for many days. He cooperated really well, and was always there on time,” he says, “For Ashwin thatha’s character, we had to pay a lot of attention to his make-up. We hired the technicians who took care of Suriya’s looks in 24. Simbu had to wear prosthetics, which took almost three hours each time. Producers were worried if he would do it, but he did!”
The director admits that the promotional strategies on Twitter regarding AAA were planned in advance. “I am a publicity freak and wanted to create curiosity in the minds of the audience from day one. Simbu was involved every step of the way and supported us unconditionally,” he smiles.
Does Simbu play a character with negative shades in this film? “We all have negative shades in us, which comes out now and then,” he smiles. On similarities to the look of Rajinikanth in Padayappa, he says, “I am an ardent fan of his since childhood. So, when I create my characters, that influence will come in unintentionally, I guess.”
Adhik says the songs are the biggest highlight for the film. “Vairamuthu has written a song for us. And for another, we’ve taken eight blockbuster songs from TR sir’s hit films, and have recreated sets similar to it,” he adds. The team has also managed to convince Ilaiyaraaja to sing a song titled ‘Spiritual Gaana’, which will be launched on the composer’s birthday (June 2).
Though Adhik has been interested in films since class 10, his parents didn’t want him to step into cinema. “My dad was an assistant director. But growing up, I didn’t know that my father was an AD for the longest time. My mom insisted that I be kept in the dark about this, and that I remain away from films. But that was my interest, and here I am,” he says. Adhik’s father has also done a small role in the film.
What was hard about making AAA? “It’s hard to make commercial cinema, and that’s what I’ve learned now. My dad has told me that Bharthiraaja would often say that the moment you lose fear, and become overconfident, that’s the end of your career. I always try to keep this in mind. Before TIN’s release, I was restless, and it’s the same for this film, too. Audience are well-informed, these days. They can see a shot and figure out where it was taken; we can’t take them for granted.”
But Adhik is convinced that “intellectual cinema isn’t my thing. I want to make good movies for the audience and satisfy my producers too. I’d love to do a period flick, but it will be very different from those we’ve seen so far. My focus will always be on entertainment regardless of the genre I choose to work in.”