– Rinku Gupta
The inimitable Chiyaan Vikram is at it again. Wowing his fans with hard to emulate performances is second nature to the man. Now, in IRUMUGAN, a sci-fi espionage thriller, Vikram has gone all out to portray two different characters, in his first ever dual role. Casting him as a RAW agent Agilan and Love, a mystery character, director ANAND SHANKAR seems to have gone to great lengths to make the characters as different as chalk from cheese. We uncover some behind –the- scenes moments of the making of the dual characters.
“Vikram approached me after seeing my film Arima Nambi. I told him about IruMugan and he was hooked. It was after that, I started crafting in greater detail, both Agilan and Love, keeping Vikram in mind. I wanted to push the envelope since I knew he is one actor who would enhance the character as film progresses. And he went way beyond my expectations,” says Anand Shankar.
So did he do any research for the character of RAW agent Agilan? “I did some research for the sci-fi part, on the Internet. We have shown real documents and plausible visuals to substantiate the theories in the film.
As for Agilan, I think he has similarities to James Bond and Mission Impossible agents. He is rugged, cold, ruthless and tight lipped and would normally break in and bash up people when he enters someplace. Love, contrary to what people assume from the trailer, is not a transgender. I can’t reveal more because it’s the surprise element. But though Vikram has done many get ups before, this is the first time he is actually playing a dual role of two different people altogether,” discloses Anand.
Labour for ‘Love’
It took a long time to get the final look of the Love character. “It was only after 5 trials that we okayed his look the 6 th time. We worked with Sean, a make up artist has worked at Weta Digital, the Visual Effect company, in New Zealand. Sean took 10 days between trials, because we wanted to incorporate theminutest changes to make Love very different from the real Vikram. Viewers should forget it’s the same actor, when they see the film,” says Anand.
Once the final look was finalised, it was quite a task to get the make up on. “Sabrina from USA who has worked in Hollywood films like Watchman, joined Sean. The make up was imported from UK. It took Vikram 4 hours to put it on and nearly 2 hours to remove. It took us 10 days to shoot the airplane wings action block, partly because of the effect of the extreme heat on the make up.”
“But Vikram never complained all through. He’s one actor who enjoys innovation and hard work. He would eagerly be on sets at 4 30 AM and be the last to leave at 8 30 PM after removing the make up!” recalls Anand.
Revealing a tidbit about Love, Anand says, “Love actually loves to dress up and to disguise himself. He loves expensive and classy luxury items and designer wear. People are applauding the golden bow tie and Armani jacket in the trailer. But it took time, effort and money to actually get him looking so classy. In fact, Vikram, Faalguni, our costume designer and I flew to Dubai to shop for Love’s wardrobe. We went to the famous Dubai Mall there and visited every high-end designer boutique to shop for his clothes and accessories.”
When Akilan had to shop for Love
So tiring was the 4 day Dubai shopping for the trio, that Anand says, “I never want to visit a mall again for the next 5 years! For 4 days, Faalguni and I just went to the mall and kept looking for shoes, ties, jackets, shirts, glasses, trousers and everything that Love would use. When we found the right stuff, we would call Vikram, who would come to the mall and try it all out. It was specially difficult for him because he was in Agilan’s rugged look at the time but had to feel like Love while trying on the clothes. Moreover, trying out clothes and being mobbed by fans was also tiring for him. By the end of it he told us, ‘tell me to do tough work outs I’ll do it, but this is way more strenuous!’ But such was his dedication that he tried on every thing patiently and gave us his inputs.” So you can spot Vikram’s ‘love’ for designer labels in Irumugan. Anand Shankar recalls, “There is a big list but from what I remember we got Vikram sporting jackets and suits by designers Armani, Versace and Alexander McQueen. For shoes we shopped at Tom Ford, Christian Louboutin and Louis Vuitton.”