Karthik Kumar: I chose to make my directorial debut with a Rajkumar Hirani kind of film
Actor-turned-director Karthik Kumar talks about his debut film, and why he wants to make feel-good movies
One fine day in 2016, actor Karthik Kumar announced he was hanging up his acting boots in a heartfelt note on social media, titled Confessions of a failed actor. A little over three years later, Karthik returns to cinema, albeit in the new avatar of a director. "I have been directing stage plays for over 15 years now. Once I stopped acting in films, it gave me the opportunity to revive a long-time dream — to tell stories," says Karthik, who has just wrapped up the talkie portions of his debut directorial.
The yet-to-be-titled project not only has an interesting star cast but an exciting premise too. Can you imagine 80s stars like K Bhagyaraj, Ambika, Manobala, Chinni Jayanth, and Pandiarajan playing superheroes? "Kalaaikra maadhri oru vishayamum irukaadhu, and even if there is, the film is so self-effacing that we might have just beaten them (the trolls) to the punch," says Karthik, who wants to dabble in the less-explored genre of simple feel-good cinema. It also makes sense that his vision is backed by Yoodlee Films, which recently bankrolled Madhumitha's much-acclaimed KD. "They believe in the strength of a good script. When this story reached them, they felt it was potentially a good story to tell, and it also fell into their bracket of feel-good cinema," adds Karthik. Siddharth Anand Kumar, Vice-president, Yoodlee Films, said, "The appreciation we received for KD was very heartening. We are excited to bring such acting stalwarts of Tamil cinema in one film, and to back our director Karthik's vision."
Karthik is clear that this is the space he wants to work in. When I point out that youth are the first audience to any film nowadays, the actor-turned-director says. "I wouldn't say that I have elements specifically designed to appeal to the youth. But if the young people in the audience today like a good story, and want to have an unabashed laugh, then I am confident this film will work for them."
Moreover, Karthik aims to mainly cater to the family audience who are starved for good films. "When a family, especially with kids, watch a movie, it is important that there is no violence, no R-rated humour, and basically nothing embarrassing. At some level, parents are hoping that films of their kids' favourite stars are family-friendly. But this isn't always the case. For example, Darbar is not an easy watch for young kids. That's why I chose to make a Rajkumar Hirani kind of film that makes people laugh, smile, and basically go home, feeling good," signs off Karthik.