Kamal sir gave me the liberty to pursue my vision: Lokesh Kanagaraj
Being an ardent admirer of Kamal, the director would have had hundreds of ideas to cash in on the opportunity of directing the Ulaganayagan.
CHENNAI: Director Lokesh Kanagaraj, in a tête-à-tête with DT Next, opens up on the biggest release of the year Vikram in which his matinee idol Kamal Haasan plays the lead. The young filmmaker spills the beans on what could make the film a franchise in the future and what Superstar Rajinikanth had to tell Team Vikram when he met them on Sunday
The clock is ticking and there are just four more days to go for the release of a Kamal Haasan film — his first in four years. While the nation is bracing to see how Vikram has translated onscreen, wondering how the stellar crew of the film has performed, the brains behind it, Lokesh Kanagaraj is a picture of calm. “I prefer to stay this way. There is just one man travelling across India and abroad to ensure Vikram reaches every nook and corner. We were working here on the output to deliver the film on time. I am aware that I have been inaccessible. But now, I have completed my work for the film. In four days, it will be all yours for the people to enjoy,” he begins. What makes the film noteworthy is that, in the last four years, it is probably the only feature that was not tagged as a pan-Indian project, but has been elevated as one.
“My understanding of a pan-Indian film could be different. For instance, a film like Drishyam is pan-Indian as it was originally made in Malayalam and was later remade in several languages. Also, a movie that is made in one language and dubbed into several languages could also be pan-Indian. With Vikram, I roped in solid performers like Vijay Sethupathi and Fahadh Faasil to the cast. And we have the iconic Kamal sir. I believe all these stars have made Vikram a pan-Indian film,” he explains.
Being an ardent admirer of Kamal, the director would have had hundreds of ideas to cash in on the opportunity of directing the Ulaganayagan. Lokesh grew up watching the actor in films by K Balachander film or Singeetam Srinivasa Rao. When you ask Lokesh about Vikram following a template of sorts, he says, “I would say Vikram fell into my own template when Kamal sir gave me the freedom to do whatever I wanted to. I told him about my vision for Vikram and Kamal sir’s character in it. He wanted to see how this boy could present him differently to the audience. He gave me the liberty to work on my idea as an actor and as a producer. There were days where I had to switch off from fan mode and be a proper director on the sets to make this happen. There were light days as well where I requested him for certain fanboy favours.”
While Kamal has stepped into politics, Lokesh says Vikram does not have a political agenda. “It’s a proper entertainer. Kamal sir is someone who can talk about geopolitical affairs. My understanding of politics is limited. So, Vikram will be out there to entertain the audience,” he clarifies. Even before the first part could hit the screens, there were talks about second and third parts of the franchise. However, Lokesh says that, “Whether or not to make the world of Vikram a trilogy totally depends on how the audience receives the first part. If the first part clicks well, Vikram will expand as a franchise, and I hope it happens- fingers crossed,” he tells us.
Lokesh also met Superstar Rajinikanth at Poes Garden along with Kamal Haasan on Sunday. “I met Rajini sir once before we started the project and now after it is complete. He is excited for the film and wants to catch a show soon. He also spoke about his bonding with Kamal sir,” he reveals. What Lokesh doesn’t want to reveal is about his next project. “The production house will announce my next project officially in June,” he concludes.