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Interview with Irumbu Thirai Director PS Mithran

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Irumbu Thirai’s director PS Mithran is a debutant, but he doesn’t sound like one. One can easily notice the amount of information that this guy has up his sleeve, and it would be great if all this ‘data’ and conviction could be transformed into the film that hits our screens this weekend. Only Kollywood got in touch with the director for a chat on how Irumbu Thirai found its form, and the work process that went into the making of the cyber-crime thriller. Read on.

Vishal said that IT is his most controversial film. What makes it such?

(laughs) IT talks about the other side of Digital India, and the pathetic state of affairs on how we’re technologically  equipped to handle digital security. Things like the Aadhaar card will come into play. Not the loopholes, but the gaping holes which the system has.

What kind of research has gone into the 4-year-long making of the film, apart from Google?

Please do not include Googling as research. People have started to consider Google as new-age research, it is just a reference medium. For making such a film, I had to take tidbits out of my real-life experiences, people I’ve met, books I’ve read and so on. I have actually met a person, who is still wanted, to grab some information to squeeze it into my film.

Digital India is a development, I am not calling it wrong. But to bring up such an information-flooded system without any cyber-security is the worst thing to do. You have to first inform the people about how to keep yourself safe, I see Irumbu Thirai as a weapon to educate the people in this manner.

Arya was brought on board as the villain first and then Arjun. What happened there, and were there any transitions after the cast changed?

The role was actually written for Arjun sir, but he was not ready to listen to my story at all, saying that he would not be able to do a negative role. Only then did we go to Arya, who accepted at first but then had doubts on doing a grey-shaded character at this point of time.

Myself and Vishal sir sat down and discussed many possible options, ranging from SJ Suryah to Fahadh Faasil. But those actors were already doing negative roles then viz. Mersal and Velaikkaran. I was adamant to bring Arjun sir on board, saying that I would not budge until he himself gives me a no. It was only when Ruben spoke to Arjun sir after Nibunan’s teaser cut did I get to narrate the story. And after listening to the story, there was no looking back.

Any real-life person who inspired you to write Vishal’s character, at least a part of it?

I didn’t want his character to be a usual army man. I wanted to depict the episode of a common man in the military. I had met a military person who was a 65 year-old Subedar-major. The first thing he said that struck me was that military personnel do not have a passport, and that their ration card is not valid in all areas. It was only then that I started realizing the negatives of being in the army. I also wanted to tackle the everyday headaches of a common man such as feeding the family, marrying off his sisters etc. Therefore, Irumbu Thirai is not a social issue film, it is a social representation on the whole.

Few words on the action sequences.

The entire credit for the action sequences has to go to Dhilip Subburayan, he was an ‘action director’ for Irumbu Thirai. It would not be wrong if we called him the best action director in Tamil cinema, he has really put his heart and soul into the film and delivered some top class fight scenes.

Working with Yuvan Shankar Raja, one of the biggest names in the industry.

Yuvan is my love. I am not too good at extracting work from music composers. At the same time, love scenes do not work out for me as well. It is only Yuvan who has elevated the whole film with his themes, be it for the romantic part or the serious part. His RR has amplified the effect of the film to the core.

Irumbu Thirai hits the screens worldwide on the 11th of May, this Friday. We wish director PS Mithran a great start in the industry, before he moves on to his next project with actor Udhaynidhi Stalin.

Interviewed By: Siddarth Srinivas

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