'Venkat Prabhu and Vaibhav haven't played such characters in their careers'
...says actor-producer Nithin Sathyaa as he discusses his second production, Lock Up, that stars his good friends, Vaibhav and Venkat Prabhu
Nithin Sathyaa, who ventured into production a couple of years ago, is all set to release his second film, Lock Up, starring Venkat Prabhu, Vaibhav and Vani Bhojan. Nithin, who has acted in quite a few films including Satham Podathey and Chennai 600028, says, “I tried a variety of roles including hero, villain and comedian. My urge to move to the next level pushed me into production. It may be a risky move but gives me the chance to nurture new talent and produce empowering content,” Nithin says.
He thinks of Lock Up as a “to-the-point, crisp film”. The film, set to stream on ZEE5 on August 14, is directed by debutant SG Charles. “There is no space in this film for comedy sequences as it’s an investigative crime thriller with a non-linear screenplay. It will constantly keep you guessing about ‘what next’.”
The film stars Venkat Prabhu as an antagonist opposite Vaibhav. “It’s a cop thriller that will break the perception that our team always does comedy. Even I haven’t seen them both play these types of characters in over 20 years. There is not even one scene that has them laughing,” he says. “Venkat Prabhu and Vaibhav are the kind of friends who laugh just by looking at each other, but they have given this best their best. Their performances have been complemented by actors like Eswari Rao, Vani Bhojan and Poorna as well.” Nithin adds that he has not made an appearance in the film.
The actor-producer shares that he is pained about the OTT release. “I wanted to exhibit the film in theatres but there’s no other option. My heart hurts, but if the film were not to get released at all, I’m afraid it may stop altogether.” he says with a laugh. “It’s not money from our saving. We borrow loans and the interest piles on. The pandemic and the prevailing bleak economical situation made me opt for this.” He dismisses the OTT versus theatre debate as being frivolous. “A star is born only in the theatre. OTT is in its nascent stages right now and so, there’s a lot of buzz. Theatres will never die.”
As a producer, does he have any metrics for evaluating the success of an OTT film? “It doesn’t matter if the said film is big or small; ultimately, it’s only about its quality. Content is primary in this race,” he says. “Yes, there are no box office numbers to rank the success of a film, but in our hearts, we know the outcome. Films have a continuous run of many months here, and the word of mouth truly helps.” The pre-release jitters are the same, no matter the platform, he adds.
Though almost all the work for the film was completed before the lockdown, Nithin shares that the little remaining work that had to be completed during the lockdown became quite an ordeal. “However, we are raring to go again. We look forward to beginning work on a rom-com that will be helmed by debutant director Aravind.”