In Beast-mode, No time to enjoy his success

Nelson Dilipkumar, director of the much-awaited Vijay-starrer, takes us through the journey of making the film, the prominence of every character and how he came about his next film with Superstar Rajinikanth
Nelson Dilipkumar
Nelson Dilipkumar

Ahead of Beast’s release, director Nelson Dilipkumar meets us at his office. Despite helming one of the biggest films of his career, he remains calm and composed.

“I am not always in a Zen-like zone. There have been rough days where I’m quiet and serious,” he begins. “But the set of Beast was fun throughout.”

Nelson adds that Vijay was a part of the ‘fun’ after a few days. “He is a quiet person, and my team is totally opposite. We like to have fun on the sets. Vijay looked at my assistants and said every person in the team looks like they are upto something. He silently put up with all our raucous behaviour initially, but after 10 days, he gave up and took part in all the jokes,” laughs Nelson.

The trailer of Beast has a whopping 45 million views till date. Unlike the usual practice, the trailer gave away the story of the film which revolves around a hostage situation at a shopping mall and the protagonist Veeraraghavan (Vijay) saving the day.

“I don’t see a point in keeping the suspense elements for theatre. Hence, I revealed the story in the trailer itself. Now that they know what to expect, they’ll casually walk into theatres and have fun for 150 minutes. This is a proper commercial entertainer,” remarks Nelson.

The filmmaker insists that Beast is different from Vijay’s previous 65 films. “With a star like Vijay, I could have played around various landscapes but the story of Beast takes place in one day and will have him in one costume. There are only two songs in the movie apart from the Beast theme music. These are things we haven’t seen in a Vijay film and within this, we have packed a story.”

The movie has a star ensemble of Selvaraghavan, Pooja Hegde, Aparna Das, Redin Kingsley, Sathish, Sunil Reddy, Yogi Babu and VTV Ganesh among others. “There will be enough screen time for all of them and each of their roles will be prominent at some point in the story,” he explains.

The storyline of Beast has been compared with 2019-hit Gurkha, which has a similar theme. Nelson takes it with a pinch of salt and replies, “There were several people who told me the same. I understand why, but there are more such films with similar themes. We have given a different treatment for Beast, and you’ll see it in a few days.”

Arabic Kuthu and Jollyo Gymkhana have gone on to become the biggest chartbusters so far. What was his contribution towards making these peppy numbers? “I know Anirudh’s working style as I live in his studio half the time asking for songs and background scores to be delivered on time,” he quips. “We have long discussions after a song is composed. When he sends me his songs, I ask him if he really likes them. Then, he gives me a better version. Sometimes, we have creative differences but that has never come in the way of our friendship.”

Nelson’s next film will have Superstar Rajinikanth playing the lead role. “The shoot will go on floors from June or July. It was based on Vijay’s suggestion I met the Superstar and narrated the story of 169. When I met him, Rajinikanth appreciated Kolamaavu Kokila (2018 Nayanthara-starrer),” he smiles.

Despite his success as a filmmaker, Nelson has barely had time to enjoy success. “Beast happened when Doctor (2021 Sivakarthikeyan-starrer) was in its final stages, so the pressure was on me. Again, Thalaivar 169 overlapped while making Beast. However, Rajini generously asked me to completely focus on Beast till its release and then start working on our project,” he avers.

A still from the much-awaited Vijay-starrer Beast
A still from the much-awaited Vijay-starrer Beast

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