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Mafia is more of an audience-friendly film: The Karthick Naren Interview

Karthick Naren made a stunning debut with his first film in Dhruvangal Pathinaaru, but his next project in Naragasooran is still stuck in a financial muddle. However, the director is now ready with his actual sophomore film in Mafia, which is one of the most anticipated films of the year. Ahead of the film’s release tomorrow, we chat with the director on what made him the man he is today, and what made Mafia the film it is today.

Before we start, let’s talk about how you learnt your cinematic tricks.

I think, a good filmmaker is a good observer. You can watch a film in two ways, as an audience or with a technical mindset. In the latter, you pay more attention to the shot division, the usage of music, silence and the edit pattern. What changed my mind from the entertainment angle, is Nolan’s Prestige. It was a film that changed my perspective on cinema and pushed me to try and understand the language of cinema.

Is a conscious decision to make each film of yours look different from the other, or do you just go with the flow?

With the example of Mafia, there are lot of films already in the world, which adopt the cat-and-mouse format. Firstly, I need to be clear on what I am going to communicate. Here, I wanted to try out a mainstream film which everybody can enjoy, and still have my stamp on it. So it comes in with the film’s idea, and then I place the other things accordingly.

Lot of people are talking about how you pre-edit your films, with no deleted scenes or needless footage.

I look to lock a majority of my film within the script itself. Just like what Kamal sir said, a film is made on paper and that’s what ultimately matters. Apart from the writing, I also create storyboards and present it to the actors, so that they can just scroll through the film and see how it goes.

What is your definition of commercial cinema?

If you ask me honestly, I would call D16 a commercial film. If the audiences are able to connect with it, then it is a commercial film. However, I would like to call Mafia an audience-friendly film because they would be able to access and enjoy the film easily, as opposed to D16 which needed the 100% attention. There wouldn’t be too many complications here, since the three major actors who come in here have a following of their own, and the film needs to feed all of them as well.

Did you rewrite the script for Arun Vijay, as he is a person who carries off style easily?

Thankfully for Mafia, we decided that Arun Vijay would be the perfect fit just halfway through the scripting process. As soon as we got the structure and the body ready, we zoomed in on him and that’s what helped me. I know his plus points, so it was nice to incorporate it into the script and get things done.

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