Unity Special

Director Arumugakumar Interview: “ONNPS will be a breakthrough genre in comedy”

In an exclusive chat with Only Kollywood, director Arumugakumar, who makes his filmmaking debut with Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren, talks about the film, working with Vijay Sethupathi and more.

Arumugakumar is someone who loves traveling. “Call it self-discovery or leisure trips,” I do move a lot casually. “I like to go in solitude, and during such trips, I had come across different cultures and landscapes. That’s how the backdrop for Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren was decided. With that context, I wrote a one-liner and then developed the story with my extensive travel experiences and college days.”

The film stars Vijay Sethupathi, Gautham Karthik, Gayathrie and Niharika Konidela in important roles. Vijay plays the role of a headman in a tribal village. Recently, Karthi’s investigative crime thriller Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru ruffled feathers of a tribal community although director Vinoth didn’t intend to do so. Later, the makers released a statement and names of a few tribes in the film were muted.

Portrayal of tribal village in the film

Asked about how the portrayal of the tribal community will be in Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren considering the sensitivity surrounding the topic, Arumugakumar said, “There is a portion shot with tribal people, but I have not explicitly used the word tribe or mentioned any particular region or tribal group. I just wanted to bring out the essence of the people who dwell in the forests and their culture without referring to any groups. The experiences I gained during my travel helped me. Otherwise, I’ve not classified them under any name in the story.”

Zeroing in on Niharika Konidela

Gautham Karthik, who has had a great 2017 with films such as Ivan Thanthiran, Rangoon, and Hara Hara Mahadevaki, in the role of a college student. Paired opposite him will be Niharika Konidela, the daughter of Mohan Babu and niece of Megastar Chiranjeevi, marking her foray into the Tamil film industry. “We have been hunting for the lead heroine for quite a long time. We needed a fresh face that was not overexposed in cinema. And a friend of mine suggested Niharika after seeing her Instagram profile. When we met, we were quite impressed with her reactions and expressions. Though she understands Tamil, she learned the language quickly for our film. One could hardly notice the Telugu accent in her speech. She walked the extra mile by appointing a tutor to learn Tamil for a few days. Since her family was in Chennai and they all know Tamil well, she grasped it very quickly.”

ONNPS will be a breakthrough genre in comedy

“Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren has a different presentation – a contrast portrayal of characters and I hope my directorial effort will also be one of the highlights. On the whole, it will definitely be a family entertainer. I would neither categorize this as a usual genre nor as an experimental genre, but this film will be a breakthrough genre in comedy, for it has a lot of variants of humor,” said Arumugakumar.

Working with Vijay Sethupathi

“Vijay Sethupathi and I are good friends, and I know him even before he did Nadula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom. I narrated him a story when he started Kavan and was busy with many projects in his hands. So I requested him to listen to my story and just give his opinion first. He really liked the story, which was a single-hero subject written for him. Though he loved the script, he didn’t have time to accommodate the film since he was busy shuttling between multiple projects then. Then, I narrated him another story, a dual-hero film which turned out to be Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren.”

Heaping praises on Vijay Sethupathi’s growth as an actor, Arumugakumar said, “I would summarise his career in one word: Vishwaroop. Vijay Sethupathi will always deliver something unexpected whenever he comes out to enact his scene. And he never forgets to surprise us on the sets. Instead of handing over the scene details and dialogue sheet to the cast, I would read it a hundred times before I come to the sets. But whatever I have in mind, he would never perform in the way I imagined. He has his own style and that inimitable action has what made the sequences better.”

Produced by 7C Entertainment Pvt. Ltd and Amma Narayana Productions, Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren also features Ramesh Thilak, Viji Chandrasekhar in important roles. Justin Prabhakaran has composed the music for the project, which is confirmed to hit screens on February 2nd worldwide.