Dhanush and I had our share of fights
... says Soundarya Rajinikanth, whose VIP 2 had its trailer and audio launched at Mumbai on Sunday
It isn’t every day that a director makes a debut with a Rajinikanth-starrer. Soundarya had the good fortune of being able to do that with Kochadaiyaan (2014). Now, three years later, she returns with her first live-action feature film, VIP 2, and again, she comes armed with a stellar cast including Samuthirakani, Amala Paul and Vivekh, who are all reprising their roles from the original film, Velaiyilla Pattathari (2014).
"It was a terrific experience to be a part of VIP 2," she tells CE, as we sit after the film’s audio launch. "And it was a challenge." She is referring to how the 2014 film didn’t really leave too many options open for a sequel. "We had a tough time creating a believable story from where it ends," she says.
VIP 2 also marks the comeback of Bollywood star Kajol who was last seen in Minsara Kanavu (1997). And of course, Soundarya is ecstatic about Kajol! "The highlight of VIP 2 is her character, Vasundara Parameshwaran. I wouldn’t quite call it a negative role as I believe that there are always people with different mindsets. I’m proud to have gotten the opportunity to direct her," she says.
"It wasn’t easy to fill the shoes of Anirudh, who had done a great job as the music director in the first part. Personally, VIP is one of my most favourite albums but, VIP 2 requires another kind of music though, and I think I’ve done my best. Though I am trained in carnatic music, I believe carnatic musicians should be a part of mainstream films too. I want to make noiseless music for big films, which is not an easy thing. In VIP 2, we have energetic songs; not loud songs." - Sean Roldan
The story line (our guess from the trailer) is about the big conflict between corporate greed and the simplicity of a self-made entrepreneur. In one of the earlier posters, Dhanush and Kajol are shown facing each other. While Kajol is seated next to a Starbucks coffee mug, Dhanush has a ‘tea kadai’ cup by his side. "My VFX background means that I am able to give a lot of importance to presentation, staging, and design," Soundarya explains. "When you work with such legends, filmmaking becomes such a memorable experience. I am grateful to them for giving me the confidence to make my own decisions. Many of the stars are reprising their roles from the original, including Thangapushpam, the wife of Vivekh’s character."
She knows that VIP 2 is markedly different from her debut film, Kochadaiyaan. "The experience itself was drastically different. Animation and VFX are not the same as live action, but luckily for me, I have been raised in a household in which cinema plays a big role. I’ve to thank Dhanush for this...it’s his story," she smiles, and continues to gush about his contributions to the story and dialogues. "Whenever we sat for story discussions, he was so encouraging. I’ve learned so much from him."
Considering they are family, we assume it was a comfortable work environment, and she agrees. "We get along very well, as we are great friends. We also share similar ideas about scripting. There were certain elements that Dhanush wanted to retain in the sequel and we ensured they were all there. Of course, like any two colleagues, we had our share of fights, but at the end of the day, it was all for the benefit of the film," Soundarya points out.
"VIP became a brand. Even the smaller elements like the Luna bike and Harry Potter (the name of his Labrador) found a place in the audience’s heart. It’s not easy to get such brand value and I wanted to continue it as a franchise but, it was difficult. I got the idea while shooting for Kodi in Pollachi. We initially wanted to make it a Tamil-Telugu bilingual but after seeing films like Dangal and Baahubali breaking boundaries, I realised that the market is bigger." - Dhanush
She understands the perception of having made both films with her family. “I hope to next work on a film in which I’m the only member of my family,” she smiles.