Editor Praveen: As a script, 'Kabali' was four hours long

Last Updated: Tue, Jul 19, 2016 16:14 hrs

National award winning editor Praveen KL is super excited and confident about Kabali. Undeniably, he is the most wanted editor in K-town as he is busy with multiple projects including Kabali, Vijay 60 and Chennai 28 II innings. On a relaxed evening which is very rare for him, Praveen speaks to sify.com

What was your instant reaction after listening to Kabali?
“Well, Ranjith is a bad narrator(laughs) and hence, I usually takes the script from him. In fact, I usually time out each and ever film of mine while reading the script itself. When I read the script of Kabali, it was four hours long, as Ranjith had researched a lot.

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For example, I’ve lived in Singapore for eight years and in the script, there was a word ‘Anjadi’ (Five feet), which is a lingo for rowdy or rogue in Malaysia and I was amazed by the way Ranjith has got all the nuances of the lifestyle of Malaysian people in one month. Later, he told me that he spoke with real gangsters in Malaysia and has incorporated many real life incidents in the script.

As there is a huge research and film must be shot in foreign country , we followed gorilla approach and Ranjith has shot too many scenes including several subplots. In fact, ‘Attakathi’ Dinesh has performed extremely well but as it was just a subplot, we chopped off nearly 25 minutes. Of course, Dinesh is upset (laughs) but at the end of the day, things have to be done for the betterment of the film.

Final running time:
Once Ranjith completed the shoot, first half and second half were 105 minutes each. Now, the final copy is around 150 minutes which I think is apt for a big star film!

Editing approach in Kabali 
You told us that Madras didn't need any jump cuts and followed a straight forward approach. “Ranjith’s script is always realistic and hence, there is no need for any gimmicks. Kabali too follows the same realistic treatment except for the introduction song of Rajini sir, which was shot in R&B style. 

For the flashback portion in the film, Ranjith has too many shots and detailing for which we followed back and forth approach like how we condensed several scenes in the flash back ‘Suvar’ portions in Madras.

Pressure in working on a Rajinikanth’s film
I would say that Kabali has earned me a lot of respect. Before Kabali, people used to refer me as Mankatha editor and now, they are calling me as Kabali editor. After the teaser release of Kabali, Thanu sir called me and said “I never thought any teaser would surpass the excitement created by Theri but Thalaivar film has done it. He told me there is a gift awaits for me, let’s see (smiles).

Coming to the work pressure, Kabali is most relaxed project I ever worked because Ranjith gave me freedom and enough time. I knew, Ranjith had the pressure of completing the dubbing before March 15 but told him that that a film with this much scale demands more time for editing and after that he did not pressurize me. When Rajini sir watched the first cut, he appreciated everyone and told my assistant “Ippo puriyuthu aen ungaalu aen ivlo time eduthukitar nu”. Thank God, I wasn't there while he watched the first copy (laughs).

First meet with Rajinikanth
When Rajinikanth sir invited us to his home, we all thought that it’s going to be a very formal 15-20 minutes chat. But he made us comfortable but offering us buttermilk and appreciated our work in Madras. He asked everyone about their previous projects and appreciated their work. He told me “Even after completing these many films, how you restrict yourself from media coverage. Good..good…good”.

In fact, everyone was little scared to ask him to pose a pic with us and it was Santhosh Narayanan’s wife, who asked first. Later we were in queue to pose the prestigious pic with the man. Once we were out of Rajini sir’s house, I asked my driver to stop the car and stared at the picture for a while and my hands were shaky (laughs loud). Even while shooting, it took two weeks for us get ourselves out from Rajini aura.

How is Kabali going to be different from Baashah and Thalapathy
Yes, Rajinikanth has done couple of gangster films Baashah and Thalapathy but Kabali is way different from them. More than the gangster aspect, Kabali has an underlying emotional current to it. The film is all about the search of a gangster after he spends twenty five years in prison and once we establishes an emotional connect with him, the film will be engaging watch.

I would say, if you didn’t expect Baashah, then Kabali will definitely satisfy you!

About Vijay60
Vijay sir’s film is progressing at brisk pace and I’ve just completed the edit for the first two schedules, it has come out well. Right now, the shooting progressing at Koyembedu set and met Vijay sir there, he is quite excited about Kabali. Told him that there is too much hype for Kabali and I was little scared, he told me “Thalaivar padamla, nalla varum”.

Regarding Vijay 60, we are planning it be a grand film. As the shooting will be over by October, there will be minimum three months time as the release is only on Pongal and we will get ample amount of time, which is unheard for a big star film.

Any interesting sequences so far ?“Oh yes. There is a wedding song and I’m sure, Vijay sir’s gracious dance moves in the number will make his fans crazy. There is another riveting action sequence choreographed by Anl Arasu”.

Is it a rural action entertainer? “Well, all I can say is the film has a solid social message and the screenplay would be racy. Bharathan’s strength is his mass dialogues, which will be the highlight in Vijay 60”.

- Rajasekar S