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'There is no hero or heroine in Nadodigal'

June 23, 2009 15:34 IST

'There is no hero or heroine in Nadodigal'

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Sasi Kumar's Subramaniapuram has become such a cult film in Tamil that anything connected with the film is looked at with interest. Samuthirakani's Nadodigal releasing this Friday also has a Subramaniapuram connection. Samuthirakani, the film's director, was the villain in Subramaniapuram, while Sasi Kumar, the director is the hero of Nadodigal.

Samuthirakani is not just another villain. His first directorial venture, Unnai Saranadaithen won him four Tamil Nadu state awards.

In this interview with Shobha Warrier, he talks about what Nadodigal is all about.

What was the inspiration behind Nadodigal?

Whenever I write a story, I write it based on what I experience and what I feel. The idea behind Nadodigal also was what I experienced in my life; what happened to me and some of my friends when we were in college.

It is about a friend's betrayal of another's trust. I felt extremely angry when I felt betrayed and wanted to punish him as I didn't want anybody else to repeat such an act. Of course, I did not react the way my protagonist does in the film.

When I made the film, I made it in such a way as to create social awareness, and not as a simple issue between two friends. It is an issue that continues to take place in our society and continues to affect people.


Image: Sasi Kumar and Samuthirakani

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'Everyone born on this earth is a Nadodi'

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Nadodigal means nomads. Are your characters wanderers?

Yes, they are wanderers. Their journey starts from Rajapalayam to Namakkal, Erode and Chennimalai and that is where an action sequence takes place. They go back to Rajapalayam and Namakkal again to move south to Tiruneveli, Nagercoil and Kanyakumari. The climax takes place at Thiruchendur.

As they wander like the gypsies, I named them Nadodigal.

Have you used the term Nadodigal symbolically as all of us are in some way or the other wanderers?

Yes, you, me, and everyone born on this earth is a Nadodi. All of us are wandering to live and survive in this world. I call even a man travelling on a bicycle or car or bus, and even the one who is walking, a Nadodi. All of us are moving in search of something.

For why are your characters wandering? Are they in search of money, truth or their own identity?

They are going in search of a good friend. The five people in the group are happy and in good spirits. And the journey starts to help one of their friends. The characters are identifiable by everyone.


Image: A scene from Nadodigal

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'Nothing else matters to me in life except friendship'

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Do you consider friendship the most important relationship in life?

My life moves along only because of friends and friendship. I entered the film industry and continue to remain here, all because of my friends. Nothing else matters to me in life except friendship.

How did you enter the film industry?

I am from Rajapalayam and did my degree in Mathematics. I came to Chennai to study Law. I have also been an avid film watcher from my school days. Though I didn't know how films were made, I wanted to be a part of the film industry.

After my schooling, I ran away from home to be an actor and made life hell for all my people at home. After 15-20 days, I understood I could not be in Chennai at that age, so I returned home.

After graduation, I was sure that Chennai was going to be my home and films, my life, but my mother was totally against the idea. I had lost my father when I was in school. It was to get my mother's permission that I joined the Law college here.

After I joined Law college, I also joined KB Sir's (K Balachander) unit as an assistant. In 1999 and 2000, I was with him. After that, I got a chance to direct a film for S P Balasubramanyam. It was Unnai Saranadaithen and the film won four state awards. My second film Niranja Manassu was with Captain Vijayakanth but it didn't come out the way I wanted it to be.

As I was waiting to direct my next film, I was called to act in Subramaniapuram. In the meantime, I also worked as an assistant to Ameer in Paruthiveeran. Ameer is like a brother to me.

After Subramaniapuram, I showed the Nadodigal script to Sasi Kumar. He said he would produce the film.


Image: A scene from Nadodigal

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'Sasi Kumar wanted me to think twice before making him the main character'

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Did you have difficulty in getting a producer?

Yes. In fact, this is my first script. There is no hero or heroine in Nadodigal; the story is the hero. When I showed the script to many producers, all of them wanted a hero, a heroine and also some masala which I refused to add.

Thankfully, I got this producer all of a sudden. He had come from Mumbai to produce good films. The moment I finished narrating the story, he agreed to produce the film. I might have suffered a lot till then but in the end, getting a good producer happened in a jiffy.

Why did you ask Sasi Kumar to be the protagonist?

I had approached many heroes but the response was negative. Sasi Kumar was the director and also an actor in Subramaniapuram. I acted under his direction in his film, and he had acted out every scene to me. So, I knew what a good actor he is.

When Sasi agreed to produce the film, I told him, you act in my film and not produce it. He wanted me to think twice before making him the main character. But his performance was more than what I had expected. I have not acted in this film but I will act in Sasi's next film.


Image: A scene from Nadodigal

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'In Nadodigal, you will see love, beautiful friendship and a good story'

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You worked as an assistant to K Balachander and Ameer. You also acted in Subramaniapuram. What are the things you have imbibed from these directors?

From KB sir, I learnt how to work on drama and emotions. Ameer Sir taught me how to deal with rough and tough situations. Both these directors are two extremes. In Nadodigal, you will see love, beautiful friendship and a good story.

Other than Sasi Kumar, you have all new faces in your film. One of the heroines is Abhinaya, a girl who is deaf and mute. How did you decide to cast her?

Actually I had first booked an artiste from Mumbai who spoke only in English and I am poor in English. When she said she couldn't communicate with me because of my poor English, I felt insulted. She asked me, "how do you expect me to act in a film where there is no communication between the director and the artist." I said, for an artiste, language is not needed to communicate.

I got so angry that I decided to cast a deaf and mute girl. That was how Abhinaya was cast in the film. I wanted to show that I could make a girl who is deaf and mute act as my character in my film. She has acted extraordinarily.


Image: A scene from Nadodigal

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