Karunaas: Just like Sethu and Kadhal, people will also remember Aadhaar
The team of the upcoming film, Aadhaar, discusses the politics of identity, the universality of the film, and more
Identity. This one word can be said to drive our entire race, from the richest to the most oppressed. It is the fight for identity that forms the plot of the upcoming Karunaas-starrer Aadhaar, which promises to be an exploration of this socially relevant theme. While the theme of identity is universal, the title of this film seems to speak of specificity. Director Ramnath Palanikumar quickly clarifies that Aadhaar is not a political commentary on India's Aadhaar programme (UIDAI). "We used the title just because the film is related to identity. It's a thought-provoking tale of someone who loses his identity. It's a multi-layered story that tries to explore how a layman is affected by the economics of politics and police power."
Aadhaar marks Karunaas' reunion with director Ramnath Palanikumar after the comedy-drama, Ambasamudram Ambani. Aadhaar, however, will be nothing like their previous collaboration, says Karunaas. "Unlike in Ambasamudram Ambani, there are no songs or 'commercial' elements here. I believe an emotional connection is more important than having such commercial aspects. Aadhaar has a strong emotional core," explains the actor, who substantiates his belief in emotional strength by citing some compelling examples from world cinema. "The world's best films are those that make you shed tears at the end—be it Bhaaga Pirivinai or Titanic. Only those films that affect the audience will stay with them. People still remember Sethu and Kadhal. Aadhaar will be one such film. It's not about the scale but the sentimentality."
Even before the theatre release, Aadhaar has looked to forge its identity through a film festival run. "The film has a strong message about today's inhumane and materialistic society. In a sense, Aadhaar is a commentary on globalisation as well. This universality prompted us to send it to festivals around the world," says Karunaas, who plays a construction labourer in the film.
Aadhaar also stars Arun Pandian in a pivotal role, and the veteran actor has high hopes for the film. "Being part of the industry for almost 40 years now, both as an actor and as a distributor, I think I am a good judge of scripts. When I first heard the story of Aadhaar, I could sense its potential. After watching the trailer, people might think this is just another Jai Bhim or Visaranai, but the only similarity it shares with those films is that this one is a relevant film told with much conviction.”
After establishing his identity as an action hero in the 80s and 90s, Arun Pandian made a surprising comeback as a doting father in Anbirkiniyal. Run-of-the-mill films are not his cup of tea, he says. "After Anbirkiniyal, I was flooded with offers from many 'top actors'. I prefer to call them 'highly paid actors'. They offered me roles, but nothing excited me. We still have 75-year-olds who want to be action heroes, but I'm done with this. I want to do meaningful films that have scope for performance. For the police constable's role in Aadhaar, I shed some weight and worked on my body language. The role demanded it. How long can I keep doing the same stuff?"
Apart from Karunaas and Arun Pandian, Aadhaar also stars Ineya, Riythvika, and Uma Riyaz in crucial roles. Riythvika, who essays the part of Karunaas' wife, is convinced that Aadhaar will be one of the best films of her career. This is a sentiment shared by Ineya too, who plays Saroja, a rugged, foul-mouthed woman. "It is a role I haven't done before. I had to do some homework to get the part right. After Vaagai Sooda Vaa, this is the only film where I have put in so much effort. I learnt how to ride an auto. As someone not comfortable using swear words, I found it challenging, but I have tried my best and dubbed for the role too."
Uma Riyaz, who has now become synonymous with cop roles, plays a police officer yet again in Aadhaar. Displaying her tongue-in-cheek wit, Uma says she has already purchased some police uniforms and kept them ready considering the frequency with which such roles seem to be coming her way. "I'm quite upset with being stereotyped, but at the same time, I try to bring in some difference in the portrayal and try to deliver my best. I'm, in fact, a jovial person in real life, and I hope filmmakers take notice of it and lend me a new 'identity'."