Cloud Nine's Dhayanidhi Alagiri and Vivek Rathinavel has produced their first film Thoonga Nagaram, set in Madurai, their home town. The film is directed by debutant Gaurav, a former assistant of KS Ravikumar, and is said to be different in treatment and packaging. In an exclusive interview to sify.com Gaurav opens up on the film
What is Thoonga Nagaram all about?
Thoonga Nagaram is set in Madurai city, the city that never sleeps as the locals say it. For villagers around coming to Madurai was something similar to going to Singapore. People coming to the city are always fascinated by its hustle and bustle. There are places like Periyar bus stand and Yanakkal vegetable market that are open round the clock. The film is about four youths from neighbouring areas who come to Madurai and how life changes for them.
How was your cast selected?
There are five main characters who selected themselves on the basis of merit - Vimal (Pasanga), Bharani (Naadodigal) Nishanth (Renigunta) and Anjali (Angadi Theru) and the fifth character is played by me. For other characters we held an audition in Madurai for which nearly 3000 people turned up out of which 70 were selected, to be in the supporting cast. Chennai's popular Kamala Theatre owner VN Chidambaram is doing a powerful character in the film.
Is it another Madurai based gangster story of revenge and retribution?
The film is about four youths from neighbouring areas who come to Madurai and about their friendship. But life takes a U turn for them and sooner or later everybody has a breaking point. The four friends are played by Vimal, Bharani, Nishanth and I'm making my debut as an actor. Anjali plays the role of an artist in a local television network. Director Ameer with his strong Madurai dialect is doing the introductory voice over for the film.
How different it is it from the other 'Madurai made movies'?
It is a film in the gangster genre. However there is no blood and gore in Thoonga Nagaram. It has been cleared by the censors with a clean 'U' certificate.
What are the highlights of the film?
Music of Sundar C Babu has been one of its major highlights. The melody number Koorana Paruaigal sung by Hariharan and Chinmayi is already already popular and the Thiruvizha song by Shankar Mahadevan sure to be a hit after the release. The re-recording took place in Prauge. First time a Tamil film has recorded there with the country's symphony orchestra. The camera of Vijay Ulaganath is another silent character who takes us to some of the never seen before locales of Madurai.
Anything to say about the making of the film?
I owe it to Dhayanidhi Alagiri and his team in Cloud Nine, without them the film would not have become a reality. He was running high fever on the day I narrated my story and casually said he will produce it. But later I was surprised when he called me to his house and gave the advance for the movie. I'm sure the film will be a hit.
How would you describe Thoonga Nagaram in one sentence?
It is an emotional thriller.