Interview Team : Jyothsna, Venkat, Venkatkrishna, Madurya
Sub-Editor Madurya catches up with the debutant director Sai Gokul of ‘Valeba Raja’ fame for a quick chat about the movie, the fresh psycho-comedy genre, counter-master Santhanam and more.

  Wildcard entry into the industry

I worked as an assistant director for KV Anand sir in Ayan, Ko and Maattrraan. Ayan is very special because I had the opportunity to actively involve myself in all areas of filmmaking. I also worked with Vignesh Shivan for Poda Podi.

  Your specific style?

I love doing romantic comedies which are family oriented. I want the audience to come to the theatre, forget their worries and just keep them engaged for 2 hours. And I am sure that Valeba Raja will put a smile on their faces throughout.

  Your kind of comedy

‘Trisha illana Nayanthara’ was very youngster-specific

Comedy should be invoked, not deliberately done. For example, ‘Trisha illana Nayanthara’ was very youngster-specific. I would like to make a wholesome family entertainer by catering to a wider range of audience. And for me, comedy must be a part of the story, not a separate track.

  Your earlier film ‘Shivani’

Though it is technically my first film, it is actually a mega budget short film. They had the story and screenplay ready but needed a director to film it in a very short span.

  Valeba Raja

A youth-centric family entertainer I must say.  Sethu falls in love with 2 girls at the same time and with their families also involved, how he deals with the situation, forms the crux of the story. Santhanam also plays a major role of a Psychiatrist in the movie. His comedy track is intertwined with the story which is a character based comedy.

  Psycho-Comedy film genre

My editor and I came up with the line Psycho-Comedy because the hero is in a very confused state as he is in love with two girls. And Santhanam plays a psychiatrist who comes to the hero’s rescue. Though the hero is serious in most scenes, it would still invoke laughter among the audience.

  Directors and Assistant Directors note down even the smallest of things that happen in their life. What about you?

Noting down moments of your life will make the story seem more real and connectable

Actually in Valeba Raja, I saw that come live. Goofing up in love, getting caught at home for silly things, our family trying to pull off a surprise - are all some of the things one could relate to their life. And I think noting down moments of your life will make the story seem more real and connectable.

  How relatable is Valeba Raja to your life?

it will be lively like Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom

Somewhere within a director or a writer, whatever he writes about his hero, villain or comedian is related to his life. And the people around him will be the secondary characters. I think it will be lively like Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom because the characters are real at the same time a little exaggerated. An over protective sister, a mom who keeps trying but messes up funnily, a guy who goofs up in love are people we see on a general basis. The character will stay in your head even after the movie and you will end up discussing it with your family.

  Don't you think it will get too stereotypical?

It is a war within families that has serious sequences with some fun mismatched funky bgm. That by itself will invoke laughter. Also I think audiences connect better with stereotypes.

  In Kanna Laddu Thinna Aasaya, Santhanam had an upper hand than the hero. What about this movie?

Santhanam has a solid role and screen space of about 45 minutes in my 2 hour film

In this movie the character gets more importance than any actors’ inherent personality. I don't wish to demean the hero or accuse him, just for slap-stick humor. Hero is the hero at the end of the day. So his share of hype would obviously be there. But yes, Santhanam has a solid role and screen space of about 45 minutes in my 2 hour film.

  Santhanam specializes in giving counters for his heroes. That is his kind of comedy. How different is ‘Valeba Raja’?

Yes, but in this movie he has done some character driven comedy with counters which go along with the story.

  Who would you have chosen if not for Santhanam?

I wrote the character with Santhanam in mind

I can’t imagine anyone other than Santhanam for the role. I wrote the character with Santhanam in mind and I must say I got my dream cast. I was initially worried whether he’d accept as he was rejecting scripts left right and center. But after hearing the one liner itself, he readily agreed.

  Doesn’t the trailer reveal a little too much about the story?

It was a deliberate attempt as I wanted to give the audience a gist of what they need to be prepared for.

  Delay in release of Valeba Raja

It has already had a years’ delay and we had been trying to release it. It is mainly due to some issue with the producer. But ‘Valeba Raja’ will be loved by 75 out of a 100.

  In spite of waiting for long, don't you think the time of release isn’t ideal with exams and cricket fever? 

I think my film will stand apart from all the other films because it has been quite some time since there has been a complete family entertainer.

  Commercial success or Critically acclaimed?

I am not here to make a critically acclaimed film

I am not here to make a critically acclaimed film. I just want to tell everything in a very lighter tone. Why should we be serious? Life is to have fun. I just want the audience to come to the theatre and forget everything for 2 hours, engage them completely and entertain them.

  Your favorite recent family entertainer

Boss Engira Bhaskaran & Raja Rani

  Apart from rom-com, if you want to choose something completely different?


  Upcoming movies

My next film will be an A certified film. As it is a controversial subject, talks are still on.



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