'I narrated my script to 16 heroes'
...says debutant director Santhosh P Jayakumar whose Hara Hara Mahadevaki, starring Gautham Karthik and Nikki Galrani, is releasing this Friday
Tamil cinema has generally shirked from adult humour. Hara Hara Mahadevaki hopes to cash in on this void and its director Santhosh P Jayakumar feels "it could be a trendsetter."
On the lack of such films, he says it all ultimately boils down to the courage of the cast and crew. "Controversies are created out of everything. It's not enough if a single person is bold, but an entire team has to be. That's how a film like HHM gets made."
Ask him if debuting with such a film is a risky bet, and he says, "With piracy and rising ticket prices, doing a film itself is risky irrespective of its genre. I wanted to try something new and break the notion that adult comedy needs to be sexual in nature. There's nothing sexual about this film. There aren't any kissing sequences or glamorous scenes. The film is adult in how the idea is dealt with."
Dwelling more on its "unique content", he says, "We've seen few adult films such as Puthupettai and Taramani. The adult content in such films is of a different kind. Mostly, they'll have violence, bloodshed, sexual/abusive content, or content that will degrade the women society. But HHM will be different. When four friends are having a conversation and a parent walks by, they change the topic. HHM is about things like that."
The trailer suggests an intriguing story. Santhosh explains it as "a story about interchanged bags and what's in them. The lead pair is also going through a break-up. It's a story that happens between morning till evening."
It was not easy for him to get an actor, let alone a popular one, for the film. "Gautham was one of my three options. As a debutant, it was a challenge to approach the stars. Sourcing the contact details is a herculean task. Before reaching out to Gautham, I had narrated the script to 16 heroes. Some were put off by the title and some said no because of the genre even before listening to the script. They were judgemental. A few cared about their image too. Gautham liked it and gave the nod immediately." But fortunately, it wasn't as hard when it came to roping in the female lead. "Nikki was the only option I envisioned. She laughed a lot during the narration and I knew she would get on board even before she said so. In addition to them, I also wanted Mottai Rajendran anna and got him. The character I had for him cannot be done by anybody else. Karunakaran, Bala Saravanan, and Sathish have also played their part really well. Fortunately, the producer roped in whoever I asked for," says Santhosh. The cast also includes RK Suresh, Mayilsamy, and Manobala.
He says the film could not have done away with any of its ten main characters. "They will all be seen throughout the film. All their roles are equally important."
Santhosh also heaps praise on the film's music director, Balamurali Balu. "While I was looking for a music director, I came to know him through a mutual friend. I told him some lines and in two days, he called me to his studio to already surprise me with a song he had readied. At that time, there wasn't even a producer so I hadn't even given him an advance. But he trusted me."
Santosh says he learned a lot from his mentor, director Saravanan of Engeyum Eppodhum fame. "I learned how to execute what you've written in the script. He gave me all the space to learn. HHM, like Saravanan's Engeyum Eppodhum, happens in a day."
Even before the release of HHM, Santhosh has bagged his next and will direct Gautham Karthik in an adult horror-comedy titled Iruttu Arayil Murattu Kuthu. "The film will have more or less the same team and include Karunakaran. It will also have two heroines."