Gautham Menon was an asset to Goli Soda 2: Vijay Milton
Vijay Milton, whose Goli Soda 2 has released to reasonably good reviews, talks about the reception, casting debutant actors again, and where he thinks he went wrong with his last film
Cinematographer-director Vijay Milton hadn't planned on releasing Goli Soda 2 last week. "We had actually hoped to bring it out by the end of March. The TFPC strikes put paid to that. And then, we wanted it coming out on May 18. But then, Irumbu Thirai and Kaali hit the screens. We had no choice but to postpone release again to a date given to us by the Producers' Council," he says. "Despite Kaala, I'm proud to say that our film has managed to find its own space in theatres."
I find it ridiculous when people thrash a good film online. What do they think? A YouTube account doesn't make a critic.
Vijay was always optimistic about the film's reception. "More than 20 filmmakers watched my film even before I sent it to the Censor Board. When people can criticise a film after its release, I thought it may be useful to do it before release. And so, I screened the film to my set of director friends -- Lingusamy, Pandiraj, Susi Ganesan, Balaji Sakthivel and so on. I've been doing this for almost five years. With no sound, background score and dubbed tracks, I show them the footage. It helps me understand what works and what doesn't," he says.
He elaborates on how advance screening has helped him in the past. "My set of directors are my well-wishers; their inputs will never go wrong. When I showed them my last film, Kadugu, one of them asked me why the film needed Anirudh (Barath). When I wrote the script, I never felt his character was misplaced. But after they pointed out to me, I realised where I'd gone wrong. I felt I should have established a connection to the character in the first half, and made changes to make the flow more organic," he says. "Also, Barath was my brother, and so, they asked if I had retained the character because of that factor. I never thought about all this."
The director thinks of each of his films as an exam. "Though I knew I had made a quality film, I was nervous. You don't always get a positive verdict from the audience," he says.
On how different Goli Soda 2 is from the original, he says, "Part 1 dealt with identity crisis and how an individual was trying to prove himself to the society. Part 2 is about how an underdog needs the space for himself -- that's out of his comfort zone. It's not a sequel; it doesn't begin from where the original ended, even though both films have the same values."
Goli Soda was unanimously praised for its action blocks. Vijay says accomodating such scenes in part 2 was challenging. "It's hard to write stunt sequences for new actors because the audience can feel the disconnect easily. Supreme Sundar thankfully made it easy for us."
Our conversation veers to Gautham Menon and Samuthirakani, who were a part of the film. "I wrote the cop character with Gautham in mind. He was initially apprehensive, but after listening to the whole story, he got convinced. His looks, mannerism and voice worked out hugely to our favour. He was an asset to Goli Soda 2," he says.
But why did he have to direct Goli Soda 2 with debutant actors again? "Let me reiterate, it's not easy to work with newbies at all. I did it though because I wanted the film to look realistic. "