Interviewer : Bala & Venkatesh | Camera : Balaji | Text : Prathap
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Although only two films old, Kannan is one of the noteworthy names in the new age Tamil cinema. While his Jeyamkondan won critical acclaim, Kanden Kadhalai proved that he can handle a remake movie, fittingly altering it into regional sensibilities. Here he talks about his upcoming venture Vandaan Vendran and his days with the ace Mani Ratnam.

Jiiva is one of the significant

actors of the current generation

About Vandaan Vendran

Vandaan Vendran is my third movie after Jeyamkondan and Kanden Kadhalai. Jiiva and Tapsee play the lead. Jiiva and I are collaborating for the first time. Jiiva is significant among the actors of the younger generation. He’s a realistic actor and I find him true to the characters he enacts. This is Tapsee’s second film; she’s debuting with Vetrimaran’s Aadukalam. We found Jiiva and Tapsee’s chemistry to be sparkling even during the photo shoot.

The plot of the movie will be true to its title. It’s about a young man who pursues his dream and achieving success in the pursuit. This is a love story with a generous blend of action. However, the movie will also have the subtlety and freshness of my earlier two movies.

The other significant aspect of the movie is Santhanam. Santhanam’s contribution in my earlier movies was perfect and Vandaan Vendran will be no exception. The thing about Santhanam is that his comedy will be an integral part of his movies and not as a separate track. We share great rapport owing to my association with him in my earlier movies. I am confident that his comedy will be a hit in Vandaan Vendran as well.

I would also like to call attention to P G Muthaya’s cinematography. He has worked with me in Kanden Kadhalai and this is our second project together. Thanks to him all the shots in Kanden Kadhalai were pleasant and suitable for the respective frame. Same way, his cinematography in Vandaan Vendran will be noteworthy. We have planned a different tone for the romance part that is supposed to happen in Mumbai. Muthaya’s expertise will come in handy for these scenes.

Taman, who is an upcoming talent, has scored music for the movie. We wanted a fresh talent who can produce music that is quite unique. That is how we came across Taman’s music. He’s already established himself as one of the leading music composers of the Telugu industry. This movie will be a milestone for him in Tamil.

Why did you choose Mumbai as your shooting location?

Well that’s because the story is set in Mumbai. Tapsee plays the daughter of a textile baron, who is an US educated girl named Anjana. Since the story revolves around her, it’s set in Mumbai.

Tell us about the elements that make this movie

It’s a gripping, fast-paced, wholesome entertainer. This is not a regular boy-meets-girl love story. We have adopted novel ways with the screenplay of the movie since we wanted something different.

Vandaan Vendran is not a

regular boy-meets-girl love story

Why do you prefer to have the dialogues of your movies written by someone else and not you?

When you write the script you are living with the story. So it’s always better to let your story have another perspective. That is why I have the dialogues done by someone else. But when the dialogues are ready, I read through it and add my ideas to make it better. Dialogues for my movies have always been written by Pattukottai Prabhakar. He totally knows what I want and there is always room for discussion and improvement.

About the producer

The script of Vandaan Vendraan is written about four years back. It’s a bound document with two volumes. The movie was supposed to go on floors after Jeyamkondaan. But that’s when I received producer Dhananjeyan’s offer to direct Kanden Kadhalai and I couldn’t refuse it. It was a remake of Jab We Met, the movie I quite liked. So I took time to direct Kanden Kadhalai and simultaneously work on the script of Vandaan Vendraan with my team.

Vandaan Vendraan’s producer K S Srinivasan is a veteran in the industry. He has been in the industry for the past 30 years and has a rich heritage of producing about 50 movies. His Sivasri Pictures is recently rechristened as Vasan Visual Ventures. Srinivasan is a very nice human being and believes in providing the director with whatever is needed for the successful execution of the movie. I am also in pressure to repeat their Boss Engira Baskaran success.

Will Jiiva have a different look in Vandaan Vendraan?

Jiiva will be his normal self in Vandaan Vendraan. We have not put him through any get up change routine. He plays a regular, no-frills guy who can relate very well with the viewing audience. That’s how I am going to present Jiiva.

Why did you opt for a remake?

I chose to direct Kanden Kadhalai because I liked the movie. I would not have done a remake of a run of the mill movie with commercial sensibilities. I thought Jab We Met would work for Tamil and hence went ahead and did it. Vandaan Vendraan is not a remake and it’s my own script.

Besides, I want to direct movies that would make people happy and movies that families can watch. As a film maker I should like one particular concept, only then I will present that concept to my viewers. Both my previous movies had happy endings and that will be the case with Vandaan Vendraan as well. I do not want to depress my audience. I am sure about that.

How do you design the heroes of your movie?

I do not design the heroes of my movie. Stories define the hero. So my effort will be focused in writing a good story. I narrate the stories to my lead men and they adapt themselves to the character. I do not dictate how they should play the roles as such.

Did you consider anyone else for hero’s role other than Jiiva?

When I finished writing the script, I knew Jiiva should do this role. I wanted someone who would not be overt with their emotions but be subtle and do only what the character demands. I narrated the story to him and he quite liked it. I did not have to go to another hero. He said, let’s do it. Same way, my producer also liked the script and gave a go ahead as soon as he heard the story.

Mani Ratnam is a legend and


Your movies seem to have Mani Ratnam’s influence. Can you explain?

I have worked as an assistant for Mani Ratnam for about 10 years. I have taken many tiny inspirations from his working style. Like his eye for detail. There will be extensive research on even a simple aspect of the movie. So those aspects, I try to replicate in my movie. But otherwise, my movies are totally different. Mani Ratnam is a legend and matchless.

About Ayudha Ezhuthu cameo and acting aspirations

In Ayudha Ezhuthu, one of the actors who did a villager’s role couldn’t get his dialogues right. It was a lengthy shot including other actors and the actor just wasn’t good enough. There were many retakes and we were losing natural light. That’s when Mani asked me to change into the villager costume and come in front of the camera. I was apprehensive but the shot was successful in one take. So that role was an accident. I have no acting aspirations. I only want to focus on direction.

I have no acting aspirations

Mani sir never teaches you


Tell us more about Mani Ratnam…

Mani Ratnam is like a library that has a thousand books. There are a million things to learn from him. It depends on what you learn from him. You won’t get any straightforward direction lessons from him. Mani Ratnam’s shooting spots will be grueling experiences. We will be jam-packed with work throughout the day: no time to eat, no time even to breath. Everyone will be conscious about not making any mistakes. Siddharth, Karthik, Milind, Sudha and I worked as a team. Mani Ratnam never teaches anything. It’s for us to learn.

Final words…

Both my previous movies had a little bit of city and village in them. They were also free of double entendre, vulgarities or even item numbers. I believe I made my viewers happy and it will continue with Vandaan Vendraan as well. We have started the shooting of the movie, which is in its first leg in Chennai. After which we are going to Kannur and then to Mumbai. February next year is the planned month of release of the movie.

Tags : Kannan, Jeyamkondan, Vandaan Vendraan, Kanden Kadhalai
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