Director Vignesh Sivan who was in the news for his alleged relationship and secret marriage with Nayanthara after the latter had worked in his film Naanum Rowdy Thaan (NRT), clears the air surrounding his love affair. He talks about Nayanthara’s performance in NRT, denies any tiff with his producer Dhanush, and describes how he roped in Vijay Sethupathi for the lead role which was initially meant for Anirudh.
Here are the interview excerpts:
You are back after a long time, with Simbu’s Poda Podi being your last film. What’s Naanum Rowdi Thaan all about?
NRT is a comedy film, which has the extreme of emotions with Vijay Sethupathi and Nayanthara as the protagonists. I come from a police family. Both my parents are police officers.
My mom Meena Kumari worked as an inspector in Vadapalani police station and recently retired. My dad is no more, he was a Superintendent of Police. If you look at the children of police officers, say boys, they will have a different attitude. They wouldn’t want to become policemen. So, from what I experienced in real life, I took inspiration and added my imagination.
We learn Nayanthara is playing a hearing- impaired person. What references did she take to play the role?
Yes, she plays that someone who can read one’s lips. I did some research for my script, watching videos from Vidya Sagar School before finalising the heroine. We gave her those videos as well as some of films in similar genres.
How did you convince her to dub with her own voice for the first time in her career?
(Laughs) Initially, she was apprehensive. I told her that she had done a great job as an actor and unless she dubbed her own voice, it would be incomplete. She agreed and gave it a try. But the only drawback was she could do it only when she enacted her scenes all over again. But she did it with utmost perfection. I wouldn’t be surprised if she bags one or two big awards!
Did you have Vijay Sethu pathi in mind when you wrote the role?
Actually, we tried a few people for that rowdy role, including Anirudh, Gautham Karthik and a newcomer before finalszing Sethupathi. I know him from my Poda Podi days. We gave him a makeover and he essayed the son of policewoman, who is portrayed by Radhikaa. His character has a rowdy fascination from a young age. He is serious about it, but what he does, turns out to be frivolous.
Why a U/A certification?
Because of the word ‘Rowdy’ in the title! There are also a few references and sequences about police.
It was rumoured that your producer Dhanush was upset with you with respect to some payment issues.
No way, they are only rumours. We are all on good terms. Dhanush sir never interfered with my work. He came on the first day of the shoot and then we saw him only when he came to see the final copy. Like how people spread rumours that I was a Malayali, this is also baseless.
Now, coming to the point, tell us about the reports of your secret marriage and special relationship with Nayanthara?
(Vignesh is silent for a few minutes. Then, not denying anything, he gives a very diplomatic answer.) My relationship with Nayan is too personal to talk about. I am not comfortable sharing it.
It was said that you went on a holiday trip to Maldives and your selfies with Nayan were making the rounds on the Internet.
Anyone can take selfies with his or her friend. As far as I am concerned, it is just one more picture. And people ask me whether the rumours were spread for publicity. For the record, we never want such kind of publicity.