Two promising directors, a maverick producer and an unassuming star are silently scripting Kollywood’s biggest blockbuster, off screen.

by Mani Prabhu

Three years back, exactly during these months, the seeds for an interesting counter-culture were sown. A few young directors were making it possible through films that attempted to break long-nurtured ‘commercial-must-have’ myths, even within the confines of mainstream cinema. More interesting than these bold, organic films was the route that their ambitious makers had taken to arrive at the scene. Almost all of them had bypassed the customary incubation period as assistant director by making a name for themselves in the short-film circuit. And the fact that these small, daring films turned out to be successful ventures at the box-office seemed to herald an encouraging trend in the industry.

Among those promising talents, two names stood out for the magic they had managed to bring to screen in their debut films. While Karthik Subbaraj pulled off a brilliant con-job under the tag of a horror thriller (Pizza), Nalan Kumarasamy took a dig at every unwritten Kollywood convention with his delightfully irreverent, dark comedy (Soodhu Kavvum). CV Kumar, the man who made both these maverick attempts possible, was then just starting out to support quality content under his banner of ‘Thirukumaran Entertainment’. Karthik went on to make heads turn with his genre-defying Jigarthanda the next year, but Nalan seemed to be bidding time for his second film. So, why the prelude now?

Back with a bang

Both the maverick film-makers are returning again with seemingly exciting films for their parent-banner of Thirukumaran Entertainment. While Karthik Subburaj’s Iraivi is scheduled for an April release, Nalan Kumarasamy’s much awaited Kaadhalum Kadandhu Pogum hits the theatres this weekend. And both the films boast of the current sensation – Vijay Sethupathi! While little is known about Iraivi except that it’s a story about few woMEN, the trailer of Nalan’s Ka Ka Po promises a wacky and spirited romantic comedy.

Have Tamil cinema's new age magicians arrived?

It takes quite some guts to officially remake a foreign language film, which has its entire plot spelled out in Wikipedia. But, taking a cue from Kamal Haasan, Nalan comes out with his version of the Korean romantic-comedy ‘My dear Desperado’ in Ka Ka Po. The original was a simple yet amusing tale of an unlikely couple – a worn down, small-time gangster and an IT professional – who start out as ‘cat-and-mouse’ neighbours. Given Nalan’s expertise at taking the simplest of plots and weaving magic around it with delicious characterisations and nutty humour, the premise at first glance, seems to be tailor made for him.

Getting candid with Ka Ka Po

Have Tamil cinema's new age magicians arrived?

And Nalan is one film-maker who can take the most routine of scenes to a whole new level with his signature touches. Vijay Sethupathi is one actor, who could pass off an ordinary line for a hilarious punch with his dialogue delivery and screen presence. Quite a combination, this is! With Madonna Sebastian playing the software professional, the sparks sure seem to fly between the lead pair in the trailer. It has been quite a while since we had been treated to a funny, organic, character-driven and entertaining romantic exercise, and how we wish Ka Ka Po fills the void!

Have Tamil cinema's new age magicians arrived?

With the mysterious Iraivi just around the corner, Karthik Subbaraj ‘s second production venture Aviyal – an anthology film – is all set to release along with Ka ka Po. This initiative is again a collection of interesting short films, written and directed by six different film-makers including the likes of Alphonse Puthren, tied together by a common theme or interlocking event. Karthik’s passion to support indie film makers continues with Aviyal.

Hope seems to be quite a good thing to have, for now.