Director Suri: I didn’t learn filmmaking by watching movies on mobiles
In a candid chat, director Suri talks about his upcoming Popcorn Monkey Tiger, why his film revolves around the mafia world, and why people should experience the film on the big screens
February has always been lucky for director Suri. His directorial debut, Duniya, was released on February 23, 2007. His hit films Inti Ninna Preethiya and JungleeTagaru, and even his last film, Tagaru, were all also released in February. Now, the latest to join this list is Popcorn Monkey Tiger, which will be out on February 21.
However, the director says it is all just a coincidence. “We had planned to release Popcorn Monkey Tiger on Valentine’s Day, but it got delayed by a week. We are now releasing it on Shivarathri,” says Suri.
Suri tries out different things in every project, and with Popcorn Monkey Tiger, he has changed his working pattern. “A few people who had worked with me over the last few years left the team to seek better career prospects. Wishing them good luck, I brought in a new set of technicians — screenplay writer Amritha K Bhargav, DOP Shekar, and art director Malla — for Popcorn Monkey Tiger. Music director Charan Raj, who I worked with on Tagaru, has reached another level in this film. He is joined by Jayanth Kaikini’s son, Ritwik. I was happy to give work to these enthusiastic and fresh technicians. It brought in a whole new experience for me too,” he says.
The film also saw a change of producer with KP Srikanth exiting the project and Sudhir KM taking over the responsibility. “It was a mutual decision between Srikanth and me. Let me reiterate, Tagaru wouldn’t have got that big scale without the support of Srikanth, Shivanna (actor Shivarajkuamr), and Nagi, and they have always had good faith in my presentation. If destined, we will come together for another project,” says Suri.
Except for a teaser and the song Maadeva, Suri has not revealed much about Popcorn Monkey Tiger. The film’s story revolves around the mafia world and is narrated through two characters — Seena and Devika. It is based on human values. “I hope that by revealing very few details, I will have the audience intrigued when they enter the theatres,” says the director.
Suri has a critical take on the way the content is consumed these days. “Today, everyone tends to follow the fast-food lifestyle. Whatever shooting happens in a day should be out on YouTube. Earlier, when I was shooting and people would ask me when it would come on TV. Today, we have the audience asking, when can I see it on mobile. At present, the challenge for me is to get them to experience the film in theatres and not on a mobile. I didn’t learn movie-making by watching films on mobiles. I went to theatres and experienced the sound designing, the visuals, and works of some great filmmakers before I got down to directing a film. I want people to experience our effort in theatres. That’s one of the reasons I have revealed very little about the film,” he says.
Talking about the ensemble cast of Popcorn Monkey Tiger, which includes Dhananjay, Niveditha, Sapthami Gowda, Monisha Nadgir, and Amrutha Iyengar, Suri says that he has been lucky in getting the right actors for all his films. “In addition to getting the best music, all my films also have great actors, who breathe life into my characters. This is also the case with Popcorn Monkey Tiger. Every actor who is a part of this film has done an excellent job.”
Talking about why he chose to make a gangster film, Suri says, “The world of mafia has a lot of variations and it is filled with life-or-death situations. That is something I wanted to explore on screen. The film is close to reality as the emotions shared by various people have been reflected through the different episodes in our film.”
Ask Suri what the audience should expect from Popcorn Monkey Tiger, and he says that cinema is all about entertainment. “I don’t want to debate the right and wrong of it. It is all subjective, and that is something we can’t gauge,” says the director.
“The audience believes in me, and they are aware that when it comes to entertainment, I will not cheat on them. I strongly feel I should not cheat the audience in the name of entertainment. There are times that my films did not turn out the way I thought and I have explained it to them. So I want them to watch Popcorn Monkey Tiger with no expectations,” he says.