'Pariyerum Perumal is a film only I could have done'
... says debutant director Mari Selvaraj, whose film's one-liner impressed director Pa Ranjith so much that he decided to produce it
Writer-director Mari Selvaraj's Pariyerum Perumal is ready to hit the screens, and he is naturally thrilled. "I was an assistant director to director Ram sir and I've worked with him till his latest film, Peranbu. I was always interested in writing; so I trained in it, and have now turned director," says Mari who is quite popular for his books, Marakave Ninaikiren and Thamirabaraniyil Kollapadathavargal.
Mari explains that Pariyerum Perumal is a "lifestyle film. It's a collection of stories based on events in the Southern part of our state. The stories of a few people get intertwined." He says it's a film about reality and dreams. "It's also a story that would give confidence to the first generation people who would want to break out and succeed," says the director who is not sure what genre he would categorise the film under. "I'd probably call it a biography," he adds with a smile.
The film also marks the debut of Pa Ranjith as a producer under his home banner, Neelam Productions. "I've known Ranjith anna since my writing days. He's a regular when it comes to reading my works and has always encouraged me. When he planned on getting into production, he asked me if I've got any scripts and that's when I had wrapped up the scriptwriting for this film," says Mari, whose one-liner supposedly impressed Ranjith. "He gave the go-ahead immediately. Anna was keen on making sure that his first productional venture be a good story, and I'm glad he picked mine."
Ask him if it'll bear any similarity to Pa Ranjith films, which often talk about the downtrodden, and Mari says, "My film will be a light take on issues, and won't be preachy. The hero of my story is a student, headed to a law college who transforms after learning about the politics of the world. I needed someone who can carry the role of an innocent boy and also double as a performer." And Mari found that with Kathir who was last seen in Vikram Vedha. "Kathir can be shown both as an innocent character as well as a performer. That's why I chose him and Ranjith anna also felt he would be apt for the film. Whatever confidence I had in Kathir, he reaffirmed it with his acting."
The film also stars Anandhi, and Mari feels her role will be a landmark in her career. "She has performed really well and took the trouble to learn each and every line of her dialogue."
There's also the ubiquitous Yogi Babu. "Rather unusually, he'll be seen in an emotional role here. There are only 10 actors in the film; the rest are all people who we spotted at the shooting spot," adds Mari.
The promotional materials of the film predominantly carried the image of a dog. "The dog, named Karuppi, plays an important character in the film. The film incidentally starts and ends with her travel." The film's single was released today. Titled Karuppi Enn Karuppi, the track is sung by music director Santhosh Narayanan. Mari says, "Once Santhosh got on board, he treated the film in his own different way. Thanks to him, this story of Southern Tamil Nadu is now universal."
The director also feels that unlike many who feel that the transition from a writer to a director is difficult, it wasn't really the case with him. "They say ezhuthumozhi and thiraimozhi are different. I feel that if we write what we've experienced instead of resorting to fiction, adapting it to a feature film is easier. Pariyerum Perumal is something only I could have done. I was a law college student in Tirunelveli, so the film is about the people I saw," he adds. The film is scheduled for release in the last week of March or early in April, based on the status of the ongoing strike. On his next plan, Mari says, "I've got a script ready, but based on the success, or otherwise, of this film, its fate will get determined."