I would love to do a sequel to Thalaiva: Director Vijay
The filmmaker talks about the first sequel of his career, Devi 2
For a director who has done films across genres and given at least one film a year for a decade, it is surprising that the sequel bug has bit director Vijay quite late. The filmmaker, who started the year with Watchman, has now finally done his first sequel - Devi 2 - which follows the story of Krishna (Prabhudheva) and Devi (Tamannaah) from the 2016 horror comedy, Devi. "A sequel is only possible when the first film has done well with the audiences," says the filmmaker.
Excerpts from a conversation.
Devi ended with plenty of scope for a sequel. Was this the plan all along?
We knew there was scope for the second part while completing Devi. But we did not want to start the film immediately without a proper idea, and that's why I started Lakshmi with Prabhudeva instead of Devi 2. Once we got the idea, we loved it and so did the producer. Devi 2 is a proper sequel -- a continuation of the first part with the pivotal characters retained.
Devi 2 is grander and has more characters.
Of course, we wanted to improve in every aspect. The subject demanded more grandeur. That said, content matters most as no one is going to discuss the scale of the film. If the content works, everything we else will work too. Even Baahubali, for example, apart from the extravagant shots and VFX, became a huge hit, only due to its story. The story of Devi 2 also demanded the inclusion of more characters.
Devi was released in Hindi as Tutak Tutak Tutiya, apart from in Tamil and Telugu. Why has Devi 2 not been released in Hindi?
A Hindi version makes the release wider, but for that to happen, we have to make sure that the Tamil and Telugu versions also get released simultaneously. If you remember, we had confirmed October 7, 2016, as the release date for Devi in Hindi, and so, were not able to change the dates for the Tamil and Telugu release. This caused us to get released alongside Remo and Rekka.
After Devi and Lakshmi, you are collaborating once again with Prabhudheva.
He is a phenomenal actor and there are so many things we can learn from his experience. From the days of Kadhalan and Gentleman, his energy has stayed the same till now.
When we had asked you how you were able to make so many films, you had said that editing alongside shooting helps. But for a new project to take off immediately after another, aren't there many other influential factors?
When I finish one film, even as it is in the post-production stage, I move on to the next project. So, it is easier for me to do films at a fast rate. For me, once the shooting is over, the creative process ends, and after that, only dubbing and improvisation work remains. That can be called a creative process too, but it is also mechanical.
Is it a conscious decision to dabble in multiple genres?
I learn something new from each of my films, and I do not want to become someone who can only do a certain type of film. So yes, it is a conscious move to do different films. That is also a reason why I didn't do Devi 2 immediately after Devi.
Does your longevity in the industry add any pressure?
I see every film of mine as my first, and this is an attitude I have always had. As a continuation of my previous answer, the genre itself becomes new each time, and so the treatment varies. Working with new cast and crew members also gives me a sense of excitement. So, I do not carry the baggage of my previous films. An idea can fail, but a filmmaker cannot. My intention has always been to do sensible films.
If a film does not do well, it upsets me. I make sure I try to get to the bottom of it and figure out what went wrong. But today, external factors, such as the time of the release and audience's mood, also play a major role. I believe in what Priyadarshan sir often tells, "Take success to your heart and failure to the brain. Never interchange."
How is your Jayalalithaa biopic, Thalaivi, coming along?
I am totally involved with the pre-production work for the film. It will go on floors from July. I am also doing Karu in Hindi, and once I wrap up Thalaivi, I will get on with the remake.
If you have to do a sequel to another film of yours...
Thalaiva. It's just an idea now though.