Interview with the multi-faced Arunraja Kamaraj

Arunraja Kamaraj’s career in the film industry is already all the verge of completing a full circle, with the man proving himself as a lyricist, singer and actor at such an early stage of his graph. Now, Arunraja turns director with Kanaa, the upcoming women-centric cricket film starring Aishwariya Rajesh and Sathyaraj. Only Kollywood got in touch with the director who spills the beans on this exciting project, soon after the launch of the first look motion poster.

After talent hunting newcomers through posters and many auditions, you zeroed in on Aishwariya Rajesh. How did that come around?

We looked out for newcomers at the start because we wanted to fix a person solely for this film, without any distractions. Also, we do not have any well-known actresses who know to play the game already. It would be a tough task to bring somebody in and teach them cricket as well. We spoke to a lot of newcomers and almost finalized one of them, but there were some logistical hurdles with which we were still getting stuck.

It was only after Sivakarthikeyan listened to my story and came on board, did we decide to go for an established heroine. We had already spoken to Aishwariya, because of her girl-next-door image. She eventually agreed to be a part of it, and also put in effort to learn the game. Despite her busy schedule, she dedicatedly put on her shoes and worked hard for this film. Within a short period of time, I was convinced that she could pull it off. We’re very blessed to have actors such as Aishwariya, Sathyaraj sir and Ilavarasu sir in our circle.

Cricket based films in India have always been about men and their journeys. How did you come up with the idea of having a woman as the protagonist in your film?

The whole idea of the film is to swim against the tide. Sports has always been treated as a male-oriented subject in India. In fact, women cricket is an untouched quarter in the whole world. Also, Aishwariya plays the role of a spin bowler in the film, which is again another cliché broken.

Was the strike in Kollywood very helpful for Aishwariya to train for this film? There were lots of updates about her cricket sessions on her social pages.

(laughs) She toiled hard at that time, staying out in the sun for close to 8 hours a day. She even fell sick, and became darker due to her efforts. Trust me, even Mani sir could not recognize her quickly on the first day of shoot for Chekka Chivantha Vaanam. I just hope it all bears fruit nicely.

What is the current status of the film?

70% of the shoot has been completed so far. The first half has been locked, and the shoot for the second half will be completed soon.

About the music of the film, by Dhibu Ninan Thomas.

The first song I ever wrote was for Dhibu’s music only, he is my friend from a long time ago. I know his strengths, and have tried to establish the same in my film too. Being a perfectionist, it’s very comfortable and exciting for me to work with him. He’s working like a beast.

Watch the interesting first look motion poster of Kanaa here

Interviewed By: Siddarth Srinivas

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