Former Bigg Boss Tamil contestants Harish Kalyan and Raiza Wilson are teaming up again for Yuvan Shankar Raja’s first production venture, Pyaar Prema Kaadhal, which will hit screens today. Excerpts from a conversation.
Q. Pyaar Prema Kaadhal is an important project for both of you, especially after the success of Bigg Boss. Tell us about bagging the film.
Harish: Despite being in the industry for a while, I hadn’t gotten a big break. Bigg Boss gave me that. I wanted to use that mileage to reach newer heights and that is when Pyaar Prema Kaadhal came to me. The project by itself was quite interesting and to add, it had Yuvan Shankar Raja backing it. I felt that a love film, especially with Yuvan sir’s music, would be the right package for my career right now. Rather than dabbling with action, something like this could take me to the audience as an actor. The entire team was great. Elan, the director, might look young but he knows exactly what he wants. He made sure everything turned out the way we wanted it to.
Raiza: The journey has been similar to what Harish said. I was called to audition and they liked it. I had dreamt about such an opportunity and it is great that it is materialising right now. I am still taking time to accept the truth.
Q. How was it being part of the Bigg Boss phenomenon?
Harish: Not many knew about Bigg Boss when it came to Tamil. I was one of them. People questioned its relevance here. But the reception was crazy and it became a phenomenon. I was a bit scared to enter the show mid-way. Where there’s so much attention on something, it could turn out for the good or worse. It is risky to show your personal side. I am happy that I survived without much negativity. It was truly a gamechanger, in a way, as it broke all TRPs.
Raiza: I went back to Bangalore after I got out of the show. Maybe if I had been here, I would have experienced it more than I did. It was just my friends who told me that the show was a huge hit. I am also a very simple person who doesn’t get too excited about anything. As Harish said while it is risky to show your personal side, I didn’t have anything to lose in the first place. For me, it was a gamble and it was good that it ended positively. I thought I will get more ads and shoots — I was open to anything that came my way. So, when I was asked to audition for PPK, I did. I was going with the flow and did whatever came my way and it is only now that I realised that this is quite a big deal. So, it is only now that I am nervous and slightly overwhelmed.
Q. When it comes to a rom-com, one can say that half the battle is won when the music is good. How was it working with Yuvan Shankar Raja, one of the biggest names in Kollywood?
Raiza: He is a legend and I think I am blessed. I was in the right place at the right time. However, it was easy as Yuvan is a really cool and classy person. My transition from earlier life to this life has been good as the crew is individually perfect and raises the bar. It makes you want to be better as well.
Harish: I started music programming inspired by Yuvan sir. I used to learn Keyboard from Sadanand sir, who was Ilaiyaraaja sir’s bass guitarist for a very long time. He was also a keyboard programmer with Yuvan sir. He used to listen to my samples and tell me that they had the Yuvan flavour. So, it was extremely exciting for me. It was something that I had thought about when seeing films like Paruthiveeran, Manmadhan, Vallavan — even though I didn’t aspire to be an actor back then. When I decided to become one, I was hoping for a day where I get albums like those as well. I started my tryst with music inspired by him and to do a film with him, it feels special.
Q. The album is popular among fans as well.
Harish: He was very confident that this album would be one of the best this year, more specifically, a romance album to remember. The film was designed as a payback to Yuvan sir’s fans. The script blended with that idea. Beyond the five songs, the album has six bit songs, something that Yuvan sir is famous for. But why should someone only listen to that in the film? Thus, they were included in the album as well, making it a soundtrack that drips with love. It was his idea that gave a starting point for PPK
Q. How is Pyaar Prema Kaadhal different from several other love stories we see these days?
Harish: There are different types of love stories and each director has a style. PPK would be Elan’s style. It might sound a bit too much if I say it now, but it will definitely make sense when one sees the movie. The difference between Sree and Sindhuja is one of the key points and the way the story has been treated will be unique.
Raiza: It is a perfect romantic comedy. It is a film that people would enjoy and feel light-hearted at the end of it. It is a realistic story capturing both good and the bad of a relationship. Anybody who has been in love or has faced a break up will be able to relate to it. It is an entertainer that you can enjoy with your family.