The audience should decide if a film is big or small: Vaandu director Vashan Shaji
With cinematography by Ramesh and music by debutant AR Neshan, the film is scheduled for release this Friday
It does not come as a surprise that director Vashan Shaji's debut directorial, Vaandu, is set in North Chennai, and involves gangs and fights, considering that he used to be director Selvaraghavan's assistant. "Of course, the reflections of my learning from our director sir will be in my craft. But, I can assure you that Vaandu will have my stamp," he says.
Though Vaandu is based on a true story that happened in North Madras in the 1970s, the film is set in present-day Chennai, and was shot in and around Kuppamedu for almost 63 days.
"The film is basically about this concept of organised street fights, which used to be very prevalent during the 60s and 70s. I did a lot of research to gather stories about these fights. During my research, I learned that it took police intervention to put an end to this concept, as such fights led to murders, enmity and deaths," says Shaji, who believes that though the central conceit might be old, the film will not look dated.
While Vaandu's audio was launched in December 2017, the film had to cross a lot of hurdles before finding a suitable release date. Elaborating on the issues that plagued his film, Shaji says, "There were some issues on the production side that delayed even sending the film to the censors. After that there was the TFPC strike that pushed the release even further, and then our film was said to be a 'small' film and we didn't find enough theatres."
Thanking Reethu Shivani Infotainment for helping in the distribution of his film, the debutant director says, "There are a lot of producers, but very few distributors who help you release the film. And I'm deeply disappointed with the classification of certain films as 'small'. This kind of categorisation influences the minds of the audience and it affects the initial footfalls. Our efforts are not getting their due." Shaji adds that the audience has always rejected sub-standard films, but it is imperative that the film reach them in the first place.
Vaandu has a cast comprising primarily newcomers, along with Sai Dheena and Thadaiyara Thaaka-fame Maha Gandhi. With cinematography by Ramesh and music by debutant AR Neshan, the film is scheduled for release this Friday.