Interview Team : D Meera Chithirappaavai, Abishek Raaja, Jyothsna, Avudaiappan, Jeevakaran T
Suriya’s 24 releasing on May 6th comes as an ideal product for this summer vacation. The man behind this sci-fiction, Vikram K Kumar engages in a captivating conversation with Meera & Abishek and spills the bean about his much equipped cast, crew and much more.

  The highest grossing Tamil film is a science fiction - Enthiran. Though this has proved that this genre is  a safe one for producers, why do we see very few films being made in this genre?

  It is really a good question. Usually when a creator manages to  give a hit in one particular genre, other filmmakers gain confidence but in case of Sci-fis they are still apprehensive. It might be due to the huge  budget that is involved. It should be noted that not all science fictions demand a lot of money. It depends on the story.

  Were there any academic preparations that you went through to handle a film with so much science and mathematics?

  I am surrounded by really smart people; my team members are extremely smart. I am probably the silliest person on the sets. If I am the smartest person in my set, my film will be very stupid. If its the otherway round, my film is safe.

  This film seems to have a wide scope for your production designers.

I was very stern that all these gadgets must be made and we were not going to depend on VFX

  My production designers play a very vital role in my film. Amith and Subodh have worked with me in Yavarum Nalam. Now they are a highly sought after production designers in Bollywood. At this point, I want to recall an incident. We were shooting some portions in a shooting floor in Bombay. I spotted a shed near the set and presumed that it is another set erected by some other crew for a different film. After I checked our set, Amith brought me outside and took me into the shed. I spotted about 50 students working there. When I gave him the script, I had mentioned that there would be this instance where Sethu Raman looks at his lab and sees his entire lab coming alive with all the geeky gadgets that he had invented. I was very stern that all these gadgets must be made and we were not going to depend on VFX. To execute that shot for me, he brought 50 Engineering and arts students to make those gadgets. The next day after the lighting call sheet, when a switch was put on, the entire laboratory came alive for real!

  Suriya as Athreya

  Suriya sir is not just a gifted actor. Yes, he was born with a lot of talent but he later developed a lot of skills to become what he is now. Suriya sir used to insist that we don't talk a lot about Athreya as Kamal sir has done numerous characters like this and this one is too small. But for me, this is the first time a character penned by me would take so much time to put on the make-up (the process of transformation). We were shooting in the peak of summer and with all that make-up on, it was pure hard work. At the same time, to switch character post lunch and portray another character was a task that he carried out with ease. As a filmmaker, my role was to just sit by the monitor and enjoy his performance!   I hope, in future, when somebody asks him to list the top 5 films of his career, 24 will win a spot in that list!

  Suriya - The producer

  Most of our shoot happened in Mumbai and then in Poland, the entire cast and crew was away from home right through the production. I was looked after by my producer so well. The way he pampered each every single person at the set says a lot about Suriya as person and as a responsible producer.

  One interesting incident form the sets

  We were shooting few portions at a vintage train museum in Poland as the script demanded few portions to be shot in a train from the olden era. We later noticed a lot of people near the museum and presumed that they are the visitors for the museum. After some time, we learnt that there was a vintage car exhibition that was happening in the campus next door and people had come in hordes to check that out. Our team also visited the car show and realized that we were not even allowed to touch the car and there was no question of requesting to shoot with those cars. We noticed one vintage car enthusiast who came in a black vintage car for the show and requested that man for his car. That is the story behind the black car that you spotted in the trailer.

  The impressive crew behind 24

24’s VFX will set a benchmark in our industry

  A director is only as good as his team. I would like to thank Suriya sir for supplying the best of best technicians for my product. Thiru sir, when we approached him, he immediately made time and agreed to be part. As the film has three varied time zones and characters, we planned for different looks with respect to the colour scheme, lighting, camera moment for each episode. We did a lot of pre-production prep work. Seeing a frame set by Thiru sir on the spot was almost the look the final output would have. There were no tweaks in the post-production stage. I already spoke about my production designers, Amith and Shubodh. Another important person is Juliane, a French guy who was my VFX supervisor. 24’s dependency on VFX is crucial and Juliane’s contribution was tremendous. 24’s VFX will set a benchmark in our industry. Clover, is the lady behind Athreya’s look. A British lady who worked a lot to arrive at this particular look for Suriya sir after about 7-8 trials. Anbu Arivu directing the action gave me a surprise with the way he took it forward. It was a revelation and I’m going to continue working with him for my future projects. Though this film is a stressful one, my team handled it with lot of calmness.

  Your direction team

  You cannot see a film like 24 without a highly talented and competent set of assistant directors. Naveen and Ayappan helped in dialogues. Swaroop takes care of my pre-production and post-production. I do not know a lot of things and I know that. So, I have a set of people who are well versed with specific departments, and whenever I need some advice I know who is my go-to person in the team. Sandeep and Mridula are also a vital part of my team. I am excited for them and can't wait for them to go out and start saying stories successfully.

  Being a Malayalee, when can we expect a Malayalam film from you?

  I think this is the right time for me to venture into that industry because they are in a different league. The writers are so strong that the industry has reached a whole new level. For a director like me, now is the right time to enter the industry and take up the challenge of making good film.  



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