In this exclusive conversation with Only Kollywood, filmmaker Vignesh Shivan talks about directing Thaanaa Serndha Koottam, Suriya’s off-screen persona, how writing excites him and more.
Vignesh Shivan’s ability to create inventive humour out of the most ordinary situations in Naanum Rowdy Thaan, which starred Nayanthara and Vijay Sethupathi as leads, caught everyone off guard.
“As I try to add a tinge of humour element to a script, it widens the audience. I would not deny the fact that serious films are also well received, but I think humour is accepted and enjoyed by almost everyone. So I always look for any means to present a story entertainingly. But I won’t opt for imposed humour because it won’t work that way,” says Vignesh Shivan about his love for comedy.
“I will never have a bound script because my scripts are susceptible to change.”
Vignesh says he doesn’t follow the academic way of writing a script. “Time is the main reason. I will take 8 to 10 months to write a script. Naanum Rowdy Thaan took two years. I don’t have any set protocols when it comes to script writing, and I prefer going with the flow. For instance, while writing NRD, Anand Raj’s sequences were different. Because initially the role was meant for someone else. Later when Anand Raj was onboard, I tweaked the script to suit him. I will never have a bound script because my scripts are susceptible to change. It is unethical I know, but everyone has their own working style.”
“Thaanaa Serndha Koottam caters to all sects of the audiences.”
Asked about how he conceived a colourful and energetic song like Sodakku to fit into the story, Vignesh explains the reason: “In TSK, my task as a director is to analyse and visualise what will work best for the audiences and what will not. It’s been so long since Suriya sir did a song like Sodakku. Having seen him do more of classy and niche songs, now it’s time to make the B and C audience remind his other styles. This film caters to all the sects of the audiences.”
“We have sculpted TSK correctly and stayed honest to the core plot.”
Vignesh says there’s a small but essential message in the film which audiences would relate to. “We have acquired the remake rights of Special 26 legally. And we have sculpted it correctly and stayed honest to the core plot. I wanted the story that happened in the 1980s to be relatable for today’s audience. So I placed the unemployment created due to corruption as a significant component. Every individual long for a better position or title that he/she deserves. Corruption is the reason behind the longing. I think there should be some responsible thought in a film, but all this is done without being preachy.”
“Any form of writing excites me. Be it lyrics or dialogues or screenplay.”
Vignesh’s track-record as a lyricist is quite impressive with a variety of chart-buster tracks in the last few years including collaborations with composers like AR Rahman, Anirudh, Yuvan Shankar Raja and Harris Jayaraj.
“Any form of writing excites me. Be it lyrics or dialogues or screenplay. To see in the mind’s eye and pen it down makes me happy. Karuppu Vellai from Vikram Vedha is one of my favourite songs, and I enjoy writing songs like that. Initially, the song had an extra stanza, and the theme later replaced it.”
Asked about how he landed the opportunity to write lyrics for Gautham Menon’s films, Vignesh said, “Gautham sir is a mentor and a well-wisher. When I was between jobs, he gave the opportunity to pen Adhaaru Adhaaru in Yennai Arindhaal and Showkaali in Achcham Yenbathu Madamaiyada. I have unconditional love and respect towards him that I will do anything he asks me anytime. I have penned a song ‘Peela Udatha‘ in TSK, which is just an entertainer. I find it a little challenging to write such lyrics with no specific theme.”