Pushkar and Gayathri have joined hands again for the R Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi starrer Vikram Vedha. The two have worked together from the time they were in college, and even did their first feature film together. Starring Arya and Pooja in the lead roles, Oram Po was a success at the box office and also received good reviews. They started to work together for their next outing Va, which is yet to release. But from 2010 till now, it is a long break. So when asked about this long break, Pushkar laughed and said, “I think it is because there is nobody to bully us to make us work at that pace.”
From the posters of the film to the teaser followed by trailer, Vikram Vedha tends to highlight the black and white. Was that done intentionally? Both Gayathri and Pushkar said yes and went on to explain that the tale stems from the concept of moral ambiguity. So from the time when the film was in production, they made sure that the theme was highlighted, as the broader idea was for the film to look like a conversation between black and white. The two went through so much trouble as to even find a location that was appropriate for the theme. Pushkar said, “The style of building in 1980s, where floors are black and white tiles, paraquet style. This is not quite easy to find as very few are left standing. Even getting permission to shoot in such buildings are not easy. All of this was done to get a better sense of the theme.”
How did they end up casting Vikram and Vedha? Did they have a preconceived idea of who would be playing it? Well, they did, but only partly. Pushkar said, “We were sure that Vedha would be perfect for Vijay Sethupathi. The way we had imagined Vedha, the way Vijay talks, the way he even draws analogy or shares anecdotes is very similar to Vedha. We, in fact, noticed this only after we had narrated the script.” Gayathri added, “Vikram was more suited for Madhavan because he had to play Vikram who is kind of straight forward. Maddy was perfect to play something like that. Vedha, on the other hand, does everything in a roundabout manner.”
So did their choice have anything to do with the looks? To this Pushkar replied, “It is more about the two of them fitting the role than their looks. Their rhythm of speaking, and they way they act was the main reason. It is more about fitting the character.”
There are very few multi-hero movies when it comes to Tamil cinema. So how was it that they managed to write this film? Pushkar explained that there should be a balance when it comes to writing such films. He also adds that there should be clarity. He said, “When you strike a fine balance between the two characters, and it results in audience’s sympathy switching from one to the other throughout the film, then both the characters receive equal attention and treatment. It has always been important when it comes to storytelling – to have a hero and a villain to narrate a tale. Right and wrong are intrinsic to story telling.” Gayathri continues, “For too long storytelling has strictly been about right and wrong. We are underestimating the audience, and I think, today something along this line will work if the story is strong.”
What was it like to see two performers share screen space? “The two of them come from two different schools of acting. While Vijay is more instinctive, Madhavan is intuitive. He prepares for each scene before the shoot starts and figures out how the character would act and react,” said Pushkar. Gayathri added, “It was such a pleasure to work with them, because there were little things that they brought to the character and nurtured it. In fact, in the scenes where we see the two of them together, there was no competition or neither of them even tried to outshine the other. It was more about working together to get the best of the scene.”
The two directors also stressed the fact that even the female characters are quite intrinsic to the plot. Pushkar explained that Varu (Varalakshmi Sarathkumar) was not a part of the trailer because every scene that she is a part of reveals something important about the plot. Gayathri added that Shraddha Srinath too had a very important characrter in the film. They even revealed that Kadhir is someone to keep an eye out for.
So, one would wonder why the film talks about moral ambiguity and how the two of them chose to delve deeper into this? Gayathri said that they were attracted to the structure of Vikramadityan and Vedhalam stories. “The way the Vedhalam tells a story and poses a question that is filled wih moral ambiguity was attractive. In fact, we were even surprised that no one had tried this earlier,” said Gayathri.
Vikram Vedha is expected to bring in more people to the theaters in Tamil Nadu, as the audience percentage at cinema halls after GST has been average. Even trade analysts expect this multi-starer to be the first film that might get a better than moderate response from movie goers. The director duo have their fingers-crossed and are awaiting to see how it goes this Friday.