He had a real-life fisherman as the hero in his National award-winning film Ottal and filmmaker Jayaraj says he would stick to the formula of casting people, who suit the character, and not spend humongous amount on big stars.
The 56-year-old filmmaker’s next directorial venture is magnum opus “Veeram”, starring Kunal Kapoor in the lead role of a Kalaripayattu warrior. Jayraj says the “Rang De Basanti” actor’s looks were apt for the role and that is the reason he chose him after a series of auditions.
“I am not in the industry to work with stars. I don’t want to spend money on stardom. I feel casting has to be done according to the character. In my last film, hero was a fisherman.
“For me, the character matters and the person, who suits the characters is my hero. In ‘Veeram’, I chose Kunal because his physique and looks suit the character,” Jayaraj told PTI.
The six-time National award-winning director is not completely averse to casting big names, but feels stars at times come with a baggage and that makes things tough for him.
“I am not totally against casting big names, if they are ok with working on the character and give so much time. I have worked with Mammootty. But, I am comfortable and happy in working with new people. The only focus is my character. Stars come at times with lots of condition and it make things tough.”
Jayaraj, who has always made low budget films untill “Veeram”, which is his most expensive till now, says people waste money on putting unnecessary effect in the films. He feels a big budget doesn’t make a difference to the quality of the movie.
“The film I got golden peacock award for (‘Ottal’) was made in seven lakhs. For me, money is nothing. In ‘Veeram’, a lot of technical support is needed, there is VFX and other things so, the budget is 20 crores.
“But we have used VFX only where it is needed and not for the sake of it. I am not mentioning names but a lot of films are made just to show the grandeur of VFX, not for valid reason.
“In Hollywood, people spend 300 crores because it’s needed. In India it is at times done to show that we have spent so much money,” he said. The “Desadanam” helmer says films like “Baahubali” have blurred the lines between South cinema and Bollywood and he hopes “Veeram” will add on to that.
“Veeram” that opened the ongoing BRICS film festival, will be released later this year in English, Hindi and Malayalam. The film has been simultaneously shot in all the three languages.