Unity Special

Interview with Tik Tik Tik Director Shakti Soundar Rajan

Shakti Rajan is a director who has always been brave enough to try out new genres in Kollywood. After his debut in Naanayam, the director has attempted a dog-action film and a zombie movie, and is now ready with Tamil cinema’s first space film in Tik Tik Tik. Only Kollywood caught up with the director to get an insight into the making of this exciting project.

After working with Ravi in Miruthan, how did Tik Tik Tik gain its form?

I narrated my one-liner to Ravi two weeks after Miruthan released. Ravi immediately approved the film and I started my homework. Later on, Jhabak came on board to produce it, after which we worked on the final script for 6-8 months.

Comparisons with Hollywood space films such as Gravity and Interstellar?

Space films are a rarely occupied genre in Hollywood itself. Even with their budget and technical finesse, it’s not easy to make. Here, we wanted to keep the plot as simple as possible, but the script-writing part was the actual challenge.

We didn’t want to make a masala entertainer. Even though we have a heroine, there is no romance or dance sequence in the film. We only focused on serving the genre without dilution, and to keep the emotional core intact. I think we have achieved it rightly.

The parameters of picking the cast for the film

In my case, I wanted complete involvement from my cast and crew. Be it the actor, cinematographer or stunt master, Tik Tik Tik was the first project on their priority list for them. Jayam Ravi is great as usual, but the advantage of actors like Nivetha Pethuraj (a trained martial artist) and RJ Ramesh were value additions to our film. Commitment mattered more than anything else.

On the extensive VFX work to achieve genuine visuals

We have close to one and a half hours of 3D CGI in the film, if you include the erasing work, it would be more. We put away with any unnecessary expenses and made sure that we used the major portion of the budget on the visual quality. 3 layers of the visuals would be achieved by sets itself, only a small portion of the background would come off from green mat.

Little Aarav Ravi’s inclusion

He’s such a natural, a sport. Never gets tired. They initially were skeptical of casting him as it would affect his education, but later things fell into place. A lot of emotional value was achieved easily because of the comfort level between the father and son, their relationship onscreen will be the heart of the film.

Shakti Rajan’s brand of cinema

I want to make extravagant films, but shoot it quickly so that it becomes viable for producers in Kollywood. This way, the expense actually shows up when you see the final product. People have stopped coming in mass numbers to watch regular films. They want a complete package these days. The whole formula of a commercial film is very confusing – what to do, how many songs to keep etc. It’s not that I’m hiding behind genres, but the concept of action thriller falls into place easily in my head. So I follow my gut feeling.

On his next film post Tik Tik Tik

I have already decided what I’m going to do next, and it will definitely be bigger than Tik Tik Tik. Though things are in a nascent stage, I have high standards set for this one.

Tik Tik Tik hits the screens this Friday, the 22nd of June. The final runtime of the film is locked at 2 hours and 11 minutes. 

Interviewed By: Siddarth Srinivas