Director Selvaraghavan, known for bold themes, returns to the marquee after a gap of six years with the political thriller Nandha Gopalan Kumaran in which Suriya plays the titular role. The film emphasises the need for youngsters to come into politics. Selva says he has his personal opinions about present day politics, but he has not forced them on NGK.
“Many say NGK would have made a larger impact had it got released before the recently concluded elections. I beg to differ. NGK's theme is timeless. It doesn't succumb to the whims of our current political climate,” Selva asserts.
The prolific filmmaker speaks to DC, sharing his experiences in working with Suriya, which he calls ‘the best years’ of his career, Rakul Preet and Sai Pallavi and how he is awe of former CM J. Jayalalithaa’s personality and wants to make a biopic on her.
You are back in the marquee after some time
I don’t see it as a gap or a break. . Basically, I am a writer and I was working non-stop writing scripts. And you know my other film Nenjam Marappadhillai was supposed to hit the screens. I am clueless as why it is getting delayed. But yes, it helped me to reinvent myself, says Selva with a smile as he begins the conversation.
Your themes normally are bold, edgy and deal with the darker side. Where does NGK fit?
NGKis a pure entertainer and everyone can watch it. Its topic revolves around politics and it does not come under any genre. More of everyday day life and how a common man wants to get into politics or rather how he is pulled into the system and his hurdles.
Inspired from real life? What changes you expect from the system?
It’s fiction actually! Everyone of us is like Nandha Gopalan Kumaran. We all want the nation to be this way or that way, and expect lot of improvements. I guess every one of us has it. Nandha Gopalan Kumaran has lots more to say.
What’s it you are trying to say in the film?
Youngsters should come to politics. For that matter I feel everyone including actors can come to politics. But they have to work really hard to make the society a better place to live in. It is just a few days from now for NGK’s release and I want you to watch and experience it in theatres.
Were you able to bring out NGK what you had envisioned through a powerhouse performer like Suriya?
I am a huge fan of Suriya sir all these years. Even as I wrote the script, I kept only Suriya in mind. I know only he can perform. He is an incredible actor. More so, all of us gelled together! It was a beautiful experience working together with Suriya. I would call, these ‘one and half years’ spent for NGK were the ‘best years’ in my life (career). He is a director’s delight. On the sets, he wants to explore something more. He will be asking ‘if what he has done was enough, or would I go for one more take?’ As a director, you feel gratifying to hear such things from a big actor.
NGK is a Selva film or a Suriya film?
You can call it ‘S2’ (S Square).
While referring your control over the craft of filmmaking, Suriya called you ‘Steven Selva Berg’.
I was on cloud nine. It makes me think my responsibilities have become more and I should make much better films.
As a socially responsible filmmaker, how do you choose which stories to be told to audiences? The takeaways.
‘A film is a film’ and not a platform to preach a message. I don’t think people make movies in the world from which necessarily one has to take something. View a film for the pure joy or fun of watching it. Of course, when it involves topics to be addressed, then the social responsibility comes in place.
The lead ladies also have a lot of bearing in the script. How about Rakul Preet and Sai Pallavi’s portions?
Yes, they have crucial roles to portray. When you do a multi-starrer like this, everybody has a part to say; rather everybody played it very well.
On that note, can we expect a female centric project from you soon?
Yes, I would love to do a woman-centric film and I am already penning a script.
like you said you had Suriya in mind for NGK, are you writing the female –centric script keeping some heroine in mind?
(Pauses for a while) More than a heroine, it is about a great personality whom I admire a lot! She is none other than our former CM J. Jayalalithaa and I have always been in awe of her charisma and leadership qualities. More than an actress every woman should have that kind of personality that she commanded. Madam’s boldness, her grittiness, the majestic aura she had, her profound knowledge, the way she conducted herself, everything has amazed me. I am her huge admirer. I could not believe that she is no more (shrugs). I did not eat for the whole day when she died.
Your cult films like Pudhupettai and Aayirathil Oruvan were not box-office hits but are getting released again now and youngsters are going gaga over them
As a society we have grown up and there’s much more exposure. The advent of technology and awareness has also contributed to this trend. People are more receptive and open to new ideas. Those films were ignored by part of audience and not by the entire society. The trade is different. If they collect more than what they stipulate, they call it a hit. Even if they collect half of it they won’t accept! Obviously, I was upset then. But, I got over it in time and yes, when something like this happens I feel contented.