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The ‘V' factor Vijay & Vikram in Deiva Thirumagan!

Written By Chiyaan Vikram on Sunday, April 10, 2011 | 9:34 PM

Tamil cinema has come a long way, from being totally escapist to being realistic. A bunch of new-age directors have started making movies with believable scripts and stories that an intelligent, young audience can relate to. Right from street cricket and kabbadi to rural themes, everything has been dealt with on the Tami...l screen. Besides, we have had films focussing on special needs, thanks to the efforts of some producers and directors who consider it their duty to sensitise the public to these issues.

In this context, director Vijay's forthcoming Deiva Thirumagan looks set to break new ground by exploring the life of a child-man (an adult with the mental maturity of a five-year-old) with borderline disorder. Says Vijay: “The condition borders on autism but cannot be termed autism, per se. An autistic child will excel in something or the other, but one with borderline disorder is absolutely childlike — happy, innocent and without a care in the world. Deivathiirumagan is an out-and-out Vikram film. He has taken my script to a totally new level with his performance, which was so inspiring. In fact, at some point, I decided not to write any dialogues for him, as Vikram was coming up with his own lines while the scenes were shot. It would take him a few hours to get into the character and even more to get out of it after pack-up. Such was his involvement.”


After Vijay's debut with Kireedom (Ajith Kumar-Trisha), Poi Solla Porom (Karthik-Piaa) and Madarasapattinam (Arya-Amy Jackson), he wanted to explore the theme of borderline disorder on screen. And he had no second thoughts about who would play the protagonist — it was undoubtedly Vikram. “Among today's actors, Vikram is one who has portrayed varied characters. When you see a Sethu or Raavanan, you don't see Vikram in it — only the character stands out. Fortunately for us, Vikram's wife, Shylaja, a psychology teacher, helped us understand the characteristics of a person with borderline disorder. We visited Vidya Sagar and Pathway where Vikram closely observed the behaviour of such people.” Just as the nine planets revolve around the Sun, so are the different characters in the film played by Nasser, Anushka, Amala Paul, Santhanam and the others. Their lives are interlinked with that of Krishna, the character played by Vikram. “Deivathiirumagan is a feel-good, family entertainer. It's not one that will evoke sympathy and make you shed tears. It showcases the goodness and innocence of the child-man who is a better human being than all of us,” says Vijay.


Vijay's strengths lie in his writing skills. His subjects are well-researched, be it Poi Solla Porom, a comedy, or Madarasapattinam, a period film, and his characters, well-etched. “I believe the germ for a script should come from inspiration and not imagination. The scale on which a film has to be made depends on the subject and the script. While Madarasapattinam had long sweeping shots to convey grandeur, Deivathiirumagan has straightforward shots, where the focus is on Vikram. It was not necessary for me to employ lighting gimmicks or panning shots. Vikram's performance is the highlight of each scene and that's what will carry the film forward. Nirav Shah's camera work is excellent; it has met the requirements of the script to a T. I must say Nirav is a director's cameraman.”

Vijay knows the attention span of the audience is short and that films loaded with heavy messages are not welcome. “I don't believe in preaching through my films. I may have my social obligations, but when it comes to making a film, I have to satisfy my audiences. They come to watch my film for a few hours of entertainment. Movie watching should be a good experience. Human relationships have to be portrayed well. There should be life in a film. I have managed to achieve that in the few films I have done so far. It's an art I learnt from my guru, director Priyadarshan, under whom I worked for four and a half years. I'm sure Deivathiirumagan too will rise to people's expectations,” concludes Vijay with a smile.

Better writer or director

“Sometimes I debate whether I am a better writer or director. As far as Deiva Thirumagan is concerned, I will say that I am a better director, because Vikram took my writing to a totally different level with his performance.”

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