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‘I decided Maamannan is my last film on Nenjuku Needhi sets’

Actors Udhayanidhi Stalin and Keerthy Suresh in this interview open up about their upcoming film Maamannan, which has garnered huge hype prior to its release this Thursday. They talk to us about on-location experiences and Udhayanidhi says why this Mari Selvaraj directorial would be his last film

‘I decided Maamannan is my last film on Nenjuku Needhi sets’

Udhayanidhi Stalin with Keerthy Suresh.

CHENNAI: Interviews with Udhayanidhi Stalin are fun, especially when he is in his element. It was even better this time as Keerthy Suresh joins him to talk about Maamannan. Even as they settle down, Udhay begins by clarifying, “Maamannan doesn’t discriminate against any caste. It is an anti-caste and anti-discrimination story that also has a father-son bonding to it.”

The credits in the trailer has Vadivelu, Fahadh Faasil, Keerthy Suresh and Udhayanidhi Stalin in the order. Udhay laughs, “The credits are based on the characterisation, name alignment as well as performances. Also Vadivelu annan is undoubtedly the film’s hero. You will know that when you watch the film. Mari Selvaraj is a huge Vadivelu fan. But he was quite apprehensive to cast him as my father and was wondering how he would ask him. I called up Vadivelu and asked him to watch Pariyerum Perumal and Karnan followed by a narration. Vadivelu called me again saying that Mari has asked him to play my father. I assured him that things will go smoothly and I was right next to Vadivelu throughout to ensure that there was no misunderstanding.”

Keerthy has been quite choosy about the projects in Tamil. She plays a hard-hitting role in Maamannan and says, “It just happened that I have been getting such roles in Tamil. In Siren too, I play a serious role. Raghu Thatha is a comedy film and Revolver Rita is dark humour. After Mahanati, I believe I broke the pattern with Sarkaru Vaari Paata, which was a proper commercial movie. But there will be commercial entertainers too to my name in future.”

Udhay and Mari in the sets of Maamannan

As soon as we talk about the National award, which she won for Mahanati, Udhay interrupts, “There hasn’t been a day where she came to the sets without carrying the award with her in a bag. When I asked her the reason behind coming late to the sets, she said that is how a National- award winner is supposed to come. Jokes apart, Keerthy is an amazing co-star and she is good at what she does. She is a good poet as well. I have read a few poems that she has written.” Fahadh Faasil plays the antagonist in the movie. “I have reprised his role in Nimir, which is the remake of his Maheshinte Prathikaaram. Acting alongside Fahadh is a different ball game altogether. Mari is a perfectionist and he films one scene an entire day. After a day of hard work, he approves a shot at six in the evening. That is when Fahadh goes to Mari and says that he has done a similar scene in one of his previous films and that we can try something new the next day. I was shocked. We all had to allocate extra days to complete the film,” reveals Udhay.

The actor-politician has been vocal about how Maamannan will be the last movie of his career. “There is no going back. I made this decision on the sets of Nenjuku Needhi. I went to my constituency and saw what people there are going through. It hit hard while I was sitting in my vanity van reading a scene paper and getting my make-up done. So cinema took a backseat and I shifted my focus to doing good work in politics,” he tells us.

Udhay says though he has no regrets, he had a bucket list in movies. “I wanted to work with Vetrimaaran. In fact, my next film was supposed to be produced by Kamal sir and had the screenplay by Vetrimaaran. However, I couldn’t do that movie. Kamal sir understood and told me my political career would be bigger and better than the film we were to make,” he concludes.

Kaushik Rajaraman
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