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Director Shankar's Exclusive Interview about 'i' on CNN IBN

Written By Chiyaan Vikram on Thursday, September 25, 2014 | 10:29 PM


Last night, Rajeev Masand caught up with director Shankar on CNN-IBN, for a tete-a-tete on the excitement surrounding the magnum opus - I. Shankar opened up about Vikram, the VFX in his films, big budgets, the teaser leak and much more. Below are excerpts from the interview, read on.

On Vikram

Vikram’s commitment amazed me. I’m doubtful if any other actor would have agreed for the script. Interesting though, he was the only actor I approached for I. We are like family today.There are so many actors who think a lot before tonsuring their head, but Vikram said that he will do anything for I. He is really great.

Heavy VFX work in his films

VFX work in a film succeeds when the audience do not realize it is VFX. Except for a few shots such as the bike transforming into Amy Jackson, you cannot realize that it is special effects. We worked with Rising Sun Pictures who have worked in Harry Potter. The audience are watching a lot of films on television, so their intelligence levels are developing day by day. We have to satisfy the audience who come to the film looking for bigger things every time.

Even today, I am fighting for the higher end by retaining the maximum budget for the most important shots in the film. Srinivas Mohan is a wonderful VFX artist, it feels great to work with him.

Shankar and big budgets

Whatever we spend, it should be seen on the screen. I’m a producer too, I have produced many movies and budget should be treated very efficiently. My script demands a bigger budget, and that is why I opt for one. The audience have now started coming to my films expecting to see grandeur.

I don’t simply pitch in unnecessarily. In Mudhalvan, there was a song where the hero goes to meet his girl. The whole song was shot with a dhoti, a yellow shirt and simple costumes for the heroine.

Portions in China

I will be dubbed in the Chinese language. It is actually the producer’s idea to release it in China. The people of China also wanted to see the film, they requested us while we were shooting.

It’s like a mission to shoot in China. Very unpredicatable weather with rain and mud. We shot in these tough conditions for 45 days. Permission is locked, so we have to stick to the schedule. I was really keen to shoot in never seen before locations, because every movie has five songs these days and you don’t want to feed the audience with the same thing over and over again.

Will Shankar ever make a small film?

I’m ready to make a small film if the audience are ready to see a small film from me. But, they expect grandeur from Shankar. “We want stuff what you give” is what they say.

If I get bored of making big films, I can go out and make a small one. But I am enjoying this.

On the teaser leak

I didn’t go for a teaser change. The teaser which leaked was not in a good quality. You couldn’t make out much from it.

However, it’s a good work, what we did. We took one month to lock onto that 50 second teaser. I take it this way - If it is leaked, its publicity. If it is not leaked, its secrecy. It is good for me in both ways.

On I being different from his other films

We can call this a romantic thriller, a genre I haven’t done before. The beast song is an emotional track, it will connect big. AR Rahman has come up with a fabulous song. Things I haven’t done before, have been done in I.

Where do the ideas come from?

Ideas are in the air for me. All my imaginations demand big cost and big budget. Still, I’m pushing hard to get what I want. I can say I’ve got at least 50% of what I want, in terms of budget.

We have wonderful technicians in our country. We are no less. Budget is the only problem.

On the Tamil – Hindi crossover

The right people should be on board and have confidence on the movie. The person who is in charge of the Hindi version should spend 10-15 crores to publicize and then ponder about the returns too. It depends on the people who are getting involved. If it is in the right hands, it will reach another level.

I’m waiting for a good day, a day where I can make pan-Indian films.
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