Dejavu Hindi remake will definitely happen: Director Arvindh Srinivasan
The debutant talks in depth about his journey, inspirations, his maiden film Dejavu, the decision to make it in multiple languages, and more
We witness the arrival of new filmmakers every Friday. Some win, some wither. This Friday, Tamil cinema will see the debut of Arvindh Srinivasan, an IT professional turned filmmaker. During this conversation with him, ahead of the release of his directorial debut Dejavu, the first thing that struck me was his confidence level.
For Arvindh, cinema has been an important part of his life right from his childhood. Hailing from Triplicane, he distinctly remembers being inspired by watching Mani Ratnam's films at the iconic Devi Cineplex. "Watching his films on that 70mm big screen had a major impact on me. Those larger-than-life visuals inspired me to be a part of cinema." This passion is what drove him to quit his IT job of six years to try his luck in cinema. "I was blank and had no idea about what to do next. To enter cinema, I had to establish contacts. Through my brother who was in the media, I joined as a freelance journalist and started working towards my dream."
Incidentally, it was during this time that Tamil cinema witnessed a significant revolution. "The success of people like CV Kumar and Karthik Subbaraj, who were also from IT backgrounds, boosted my confidence," says Arvindh, who developed the Dejavu script way back in 2015. "I got the base thread of the film at the end of 2015, and I would keep discussing it with my friends. If they were able to guess the next scene, I would go back and rewrite it. That process took me four years."
With the help of cinematographer PG Muthaiah, who is also the co-producer of Dejavu, Arvindh began the pre-production of the film, which stars his first choice Arulnithi in the lead. "When I submitted the script to Arulnithi sir, he was busy with shoots. But he did take time out to keep me updated about the progress. One fine day, after reading the first half of the script, he called me home to ask for a narration of the second half because he couldn't control his curiosity. He instantly agreed to do the film even before listening to the climax."
Arvindh adds that the reactions were instant with whomever he narrated the script. "Senior actors like Madhoo ma'am and Achyuth Kumar sir trusted me blindly and agreed to be part of the project. I feel I'm blessed that way because they all believed in me despite my lack of formal training in cinema."
Despite being a debutant, Arvindh was given the space to keep improvising till the last minute. "After Arulnithi sir agreed to be part of the film, I felt more responsible and rewrote the second half. Though everyone was skeptical, they were eventually convinced and found the new version to be better. I try to improvise till the final take."
It is not always you see such confidence from a debutant filmmaker. This facet was more pronounced with his decision to remake the film in Telugu and Hindi even before the release of the Tamil version. "We initially had plans to make the film in Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi simultaneously. However, the pandemic disrupted our plans. We had a lot of logistical issues, but we still managed to finish the Telugu version with Naveen Chandra. It will soon come out on Disney+ Hotstar. For the Hindi remake, we had talks with Vivek Oberoi and Jackie Shroff, but it didn't take off. I will definitely try and revive it once Dejavu gets released. This script has that potential," signs off the ever-confident Arvindh.