My Dear Bootham director Ragavan: I became a child in the process of understanding children’s world

My Dear Bootham explores the bonding shared between a 10-year-old boy (Ashwanth Ashokkumar) and a genie (Prabhudheva)
My Dear Bootham poster, N Ragavan
My Dear Bootham poster, N Ragavan

There is an old saying that goes, “To better understand the children’s world put yourself in their shoes.” Filmmaker N Ragavan, who is awaiting the release of the Prabhudheva-starrer My Dear Bootham, strongly resonates with this thought. 

Ragavan recalls that when he decided to do a children’s film, he was burdened with a long-standing creative block. In fact, it was Deva, Ragavan’s brother and My Dear Bootham's co-director, who suggested that the latter spend more time with his daughter to understand the children's world. 

“I became a child in the process of understanding that world,” says the filmmaker, whose previous two films — Manjapai and Kadamban — were in completely different genres. "When I was looking around for the next different genre to explore, I understood that Tamil cinema was lacking content for children. I decided that my next will be a children’s fantasy film.”

Overcoming creative block is easier said than done, and Ragavan shares that he spent time with his daughter, watched a lot of cartoons and tried to understand what engages the kids of today, their preferences, and perceptions of the world. “At one point, I got the spark and completed the script in three months,” says Ragavan. 

My Dear Bootham explores the bonding shared between a 10-year-old boy Thirunavukkarasu (Ashwanth Ashokkumar) and a genie (Prabhudheva). Interestingly, Ragavan notes that he approached producer Ramesh P Pillai for a different script, but the latter expressed his interest to back My Dear Bootham.

The USP of the film is definitely the casting of Prabhudheva as the genie, and Ragavan shares that the actor was his first choice for the role, and the producer too felt the same. “We knew Prabhudheva will be the apt choice as he has a great fanbase among the kids, and he could easily pull off slapstick comedy. I have seen Ashwanth’s performances in serials and Super Deluxe, and we shortlisted him after an audition.”

Unlike the usual genies we have seen in our films, Ragavan shares that his bootham comes with a slight twist. “So far we have only seen an Arabic genie. But we have tried something new in My Dear Bootham. The genie is a Tamil character named Karkimukhi. The name is taken from an ancient Tamil poem Tirumurukātṟuppadai which has a mention of a Bootham named Karkimukhi.”

If the casting of the film, which also stars Ramya Nambessan as the child's mother, is one highlight of this fantasy comedy, one other USP is definitely the VFX. While the film’s production was completed in April 2021, the makers spent another ten months completing the VFX.

Meanwhile, the film’s technical crew includes cinematographer UK Senthil Kumar, music composer D Imman and editor San Lokesh. The film is all set to hit the theatres on July 15.

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