In an exclusive chat with Only Kollywood, Soundarya Rajinikanth opened up about her sophomore feature Velai Illa Pattathari 2, working with Dhanush, Bollywood actress Kajol and her first experience of a live action film.
“I was working on a couple of scripts before VIP 2. I even made a casting call announcement for one of my scripts titled ‘Nilavukku Enmel Ennadi Kobam.’ But for some reasons, I could not get the right cast for that project, and I had to put it on the backburner,” Soundarya told Only Kollywood.
First experience of directing a live action film
“Working in a motion capture movie (Kochadaiyaan) and a live film is entirely different. Kochadaiyaan was a photo-realistic performance-capture film. It was new to Indian audiences, who still have the mindset that animation is a cartoon. So, I wanted to break away from animation and do a live action film. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working in both the mediums equally. Motion capture films majorly happen inside a studio whereas the live action movie’s entire process happens on the floor once the pre production is over. It’s two different worlds, and I’ve enjoyed both.”
“Irrespective of any feature, a director’s role is to extract best performances from the actors and add it to the overall vision of the film. The process and medium may be different, but my responsibility as a filmmaker remains the same,” said Soundarya.
“Kajol doesn’t play a cliched villain role”
“Vasundhara Parameshwar played by Kajol in the movie is not a cliched villain role. She won’t say, ‘Raghuavaran, I’m going to kill you or finish you.’ The clash of ideologies between Raghuvaran and Vasundhara is the crux of the story. So, I would surely not categorize Kajol’s role as just a villain,” said Soundarya.
“We never thought about anyone for the character of Vasundhara except Kajol. I went to Mumbai and gave the full narration of the film to her. She loved the story so much and came on board.”
“We wanted VIP 2 to be a genuine sequel.”
“I fully wrote the screenplay, but Dhanush was always there in the discussion. We wanted the film to be a genuine sequel and carefully included a lot of elements from the first part, like the father-son relationship. So, Dhanush’s inputs were indispensable,” said Soundarya.
On the impact of Ramya Krishnan’s Neelambari in Padayappa
“The fact that we are still speaking about Ramya Krishnan’s Neelambari in Padayappa and Vijay Shanthi’s Shantidevi in Mannan shows the real impact of those characters. Both these films are highly successful in the male versus female conflict, and I’m sure the comparisons are inevitable. But, our film is a little different. We have given a lot of importance to women in our movie. Even the dialogues have been written in such a way to elevate women. I believe VIP 2 will be a different film in the male versus female genre,” explained Soundarya shutting the comparisons to rest.
“We have even retained the hit dialogues from the first part.“
“The main success of part one was the relatable characters. Raghuvaran fell in love in the first part. Now, he’s married, and the sequel will be the next phase in his life. Since we have another character called Vasundhara, there’s a different world we have introduced. But the moments that you enjoyed watching in part one will be there in the sequel too. We have even retained the hit dialogues from the first part,” said Soundarya.
“We have not remade VIP. Our sequel is the continuity of the characters from VIP. You will see the highlights of VIP in the sequel, but it’s an entirely different film set in a different phase.”
On the pressure of helming the sequel to a blockbuster film
“The pressure of helming the sequel to a blockbuster film was there. But, I believed in the story, which is the real hero of any movie. So I was confident about executing the story well. And, I believe visuals are my strength. I also had an excellent technical crew and a fantastic set of actors, thanks to our producer Kalaipuli S Thanu. So I took up the project only after I felt confident to pull it off,” said Soundarya.
About her next project
“I have a lot of lines in my head. But, my full focus is on VIP 2‘s release now. I will sit with my creative team after the release and decide on my next project later. But definitely, it will be a live action film in the commercial setup.”
More sequels to the VIP franchise
“Dhanush surely has plans for more sequels to the VIP franchise. There’s definitely going to be a part three. If I receive an opportunity to direct it, I will be more happy to do it. Now, I’ve totally fallen in love with Raghuvaran’s world.”
Working experience with Dhanush
“Dhanush is a thorough professional. Once he comes to the floor, he’s an actor. When he is in music discussions, he’s a writer. He never interfered in any thing in the direction department. He gives complete freedom, once he trusts you.”
While the Tamil version of VIP 2 will hit screens on August 11th, the Telugu and Hindi versions will release on August 18th.