CHENNAI: Arunraja Kamaraj has had a long day promoting Nenjuku Needhi across the city. We talk past bedtime and he still sounds excited about how the film, the official Tamil remake of Article 15 has panned out.
“We worked on Nenjuku Needhi like it is an original script. We never had the perception of working on a remake. What is more encouraging is that each of the cast and crew members came up with their inputs in bettering the film. All of us were on the same page,” says Arunraja.
The director-writer adds that he has made the film with the same amount of conviction an original film required. “At the end of the day, the audience will like a film if the content is good and is made well. They don’t see if it is a remake or an original content. I worked on Nenjuku Needhi with the same amount of effort I had put in for Kanaa. That is the respect the craft deserves. However, I had more liberty when I worked in Kanaa. Here the responsibility is bigger as comparisons will be drawn. We either had to justify it or make a better one. We have given our best in terms of performance and technical aspects. It is not a frame-to-frame remake of Article 15. We have catered the film to our audience. We have added a few new characters and have done away with a few as well,” he adds.
Arunraja feels that the essence has been maintained as the topic is relevant to our country. “The subject is such that it would work anywhere in India. Be it North India or down south Tamil Nadu, the issue is prevalent across the country and the audience can relate to it. People face discrimination in every country. However, it is more common in India in my opinion,” the director remarks.
Udhayanidhi plays a cop in the film and fits the bill in promo videos and stills from Nenjuku Needhi. When asked if Udhay had to put on weight for the role, Arun says, “He looks fit. Doesn’t he? You wouldn’t believe that Udhay had lost six to seven kilos as he came to shoot after election campaigns last year. We were good to go for the shoot after he gave the nod.”
The movie will be Boney Kapoor’s second Tamil remake of a Hindi film after NerKonda Paarvai. “There was no demand from his end. All he wanted is to present Article 15 to the Tamil audience. I gave them an English draft of the script and sent it to him. After meeting the Zee Studios team and clarifying certain things on how the script would work here, they were convinced,” says Arun.
His debut directorial venture Kanaa, has been running successfully for over a month in China. “I am glad about it. We make movies only for it to be enjoyed by people across the world and for the producers to benefit from it. I am happy to be a commercially viable director who has set his vision in the right direction,” he concludes.