The Ajith-starrer Viswasam, directed by Siva, is in its fourth week in theaters. We speak to some of the cast and crew members of the film as they share their experiences.
Robo Shankar, actor:
Viswasam is a Pongal gift for me, and I wholeheartedly thank Siva sir for having cast me in this role because I have always wanted to work with Thala. He is a gem of a person, who speaks from his heart. Casually, I told how his fans wanted him to do at least two films a year, and he smiled at me. My phone hasn’t stopped ringing ever since Viswasam got released, and I am grateful for this opportunity. I think for an actor, it is important to do all kinds of roles — whether — it is commercial, art or mainstream. I enjoyed a lot working with Ajith sir.
Jagapathi Babu, actor:
Ajith sir is a genuine person, who has done many good things for many people. Also, he is one of the very few artistes who think about others, and that is why he has this much adulation among his fans. His role in Viswasam is a perfect mix of class and mass that the family audience will enjoy. I am certain this will tempt them to return to watch it again. Another thing I like about Ajith sir is how while shooting, he would continuously improvise. It was a great learning experience for me.
I don’t read the script as an actor or as someone from the industry. I look at each script as an outsider. Viswasam was thoroughly entertaining, and I believed it would work in totality, and it did.
Dhilip Subbarayan, stunt choreographer:
Though all commercial fights are similar, there were concept-based action sequences in Viswasam. In general, fight scenes had to be choreographed with proper flow of rhythm, so that it moves the story in a way that appears fresh and engaging to the audience. You have to give it to Ajith for pulling them off quite cool and stylish. Every stuntman admires him because he treats us with so much respect. He also doesn’t interfere with any of our ideas. In particular, it was challenging to choreograph the sequences that appear towards the climax portions.
Milan, art director:
Movies are a creative medium that requires multiple brains to work towards a common goal. And some of the best films emerge when the team works in a symphony. The job of an art director is to give a realistic feel to designs with non-realistic material, and what I love about working in films is that it constantly lets me delve into an interesting world. Through these years, I have learned to embrace the challenges and face every project head on.
For me, the creative process started when Siva narrated the script. His scripts are full of instructions, art direction details, camera angles, etc. So, the more I visualised, the better the output was. At the end of the day, all a filmmaker wants to do is to tell her story and have an audience connect with it.
I enjoy the process of working in commercial films and believe in giving what exactly the director wants. Even in a mainstream film like Viswasam, as a team, we tried to bring in aesthetics. I consider every film as a learning curve. The surroundings inspire me, the films I grew up watching inspire me and the subject inspires me. Ajith appears in a dhoti after a long while, and we did everything possible we could and made Viswasam, a festival film. The introduction scene, of course, was the toughest thing that we worked on. It has been more than a decade since we saw Ajith in a jovial role, because most of his films in the recent past — Veeram, Vedalam and Vivegam had been a tad serious. The story is set against both the urban and rural backdrops, so we had used two different colour schemes.
Anu Vardhan, costume designer:
To me, fashion means much more than clothing. I guess it’s that feeling of happiness and confidence that someone gets on wearing it, which makes the whole journey worth it. The response, so far, has been fantastic, and everyone seems to have liked what Nayanthara wears in the film. Already I have got a couple of requests to design similar kind of saris she wore. People are ready to experiment with different hues of colours. It is no longer just the reds and blues that denote festivities. As a costume designer, you have control over what people see on screen, and the visual narrative of a film comes when you work in harmony with different departments of filmmaking — sets, camera, lighting and costume. I make it to a point that clothes be as credible as the emotions of artistes, and I did a lot of homework before freezing on Nayanthara’s looks. Starting from sourcing fabrics, tailoring, designing and fitting — everything was done racing against time.