Amudhan tells TNM why he went from engineering to direction, how he chose which films to parody in the sequel, and more.

My next film wont have a single joke in it Tamizh Padam 20 director CS AmudhanTwitter/CS Amudhan
Flix Interview Saturday, June 02, 2018 - 14:55

CS Amudhan’s Tamizh Padam 2.0 is among the most anticipated Tamil films of the year. This is no mean achievement, considering there are two upcoming Rajinikanth films and at least one Kamal Haasan film this year, not to mention films by the younger superstars of the industry who go by various titles.

Interestingly, the reason everyone is looking forward to Tamizh Padam 2.0 is precisely because it is a parody which will have references to films made by all the above mentioned titled superstars. The promos of the film, including the Evada Unna Petha song which takes a swipe at the infamous ‘soup song’ genre from a woman’s perspective, have promised us that much.

The sequel to Tamizh Padam, which released in 2010, retains Shiva in the lead role and belongs to the cop film genre. It also stars Iswarya Menon with Disha Pandey making a cameo. Eight years is a long time for a sequel, but Amudhan’s film has still managed to generate a lot of buzz.

Speaking to TNM, the director says, “We did expect that there would be a buzz around it. In these 8 years, others have not attempted to make a spoof and we knew we were in the running and that the expectation would be good. But the reception we have got is overwhelming.”

Amudhan, who did his BE in Electronics and Communication, knew at the end of his course that he didn’t want to do anything related to the degree he’d just earned after four years. So he started a creative hotshop in Chennai which went on to do well.

“Then we went to Dubai and opened a hotshop there,” Amudhan recalls. “And then there was the recession and we were hit really badly by that. I was already friends with Sashikanth, who was an architect at the time. When I came back from Dubai, we both were at that stage when we wanted to do something else. We were saturated by the jobs we were in. So I pitched this idea to him – a telefilm spoof. He had a lot of contacts in the media industry at the time. But when we developed the script, we felt it was good enough for a feature length film.”

Sashikanth put Amudhan in touch with Dayanidhi Azhagiri who’d just finished with the Suriya starrer Vaaranam Aaiyiram.

“We pitched the idea to him and he liked it in the first meeting itself,” Amudhan recounts. “When he asked who the director would be, I impulsively said I’d do it… and nobody objected!”

Amudhan did not have any experience in filmmaking though his agency had produced many ad films for which he’d written the script.

“The aesthetics is very similar to what I’m doing now but I’d only written for them. I had absolutely no hands-on experience in directing,” says Amudhan.

After the success of Tamizh Padam, Amudhan made another film – Rendavadhu Padam – but it has been stuck in the cans. He hopes to release it, riding on the popularity of Tamizh Padam 2.0.

Beyond references to popular films, the promos for Tamizh Padam 2.0 have also taken a dig at how the Tamil film industry operates. For instance, the tendency to release ‘first looks’ and generate massive hype around every other announcement concerning the film. In honour of this tradition, Amudhan’s team released a ‘first look of the press release’ announcing that his film was delayed because of ‘CGI work’.

Asked if people from within the industry generally find such trends amusing themselves, Amudhan says, “I consider myself an outsider… not just consider, I AM an outsider. I’ve not assisted anybody before coming in. My family has nothing to do with films. My dad was a dean at Loyola College, my mom was a school headmistress – completely unrelated to the film industry.”

He goes on to add, “Some in the industry do have a sense of humour. A lot of them don’t. But you can’t let them get to you if you’re making a spoof film. That’s the soul of it.”

The recently released trailer of Tamizh Padam 2.0 has references to several Tamil films, including ones starring Vijay and Ajith. As anyone who has followed the Tamil film industry would know, Vijay and Ajith fans are notorious for trolling and abusing anyone who criticises their respective matinee idols.

Surprisingly though, Amudhan says he’s not been at their receiving end as yet.

“It hasn’t happened to me. I don’t know why. I find it strange myself. The thing is, when the first Tamizh Padam happened, there were enough references to Vijay and Ajith films there also. But we didn’t have anyone agitating in theatres or trolling it cruelly. That never happened. I think when the humour is about the things they have done in their films and not personal, people are a little kinder, if I can use that word! I know how vicious they can be… it’s a phenomenon I don’t understand myself,” he says.

How did Amudhan go about selecting the films he’d parody in the sequel? He explains, “You go after the pop culture references that are at the top of everyone’s minds. So you build your story around that. This is what people don’t get. It’s not taking on anybody. I get asked why I was taking on Ajith and Vijay but I’m not taking them on. I’m just taking the ones who are at the top of everyone’s minds. You just show a scene, an image… you don’t have to say a word… and immediately people will connect.”

Apart from parodying films, Tamizh Padam 2.0 also has references to the current political situation in Tamil Nadu. Deputy CM O Panneerselvam appears to have been one of the inspirations.

“There hasn’t been any backlash and I’m a little surprised by that myself. Out of the thousands of responses we’ve had, there might be one or two which ask how dare you do this,” he shares.

However, Amudhan admits that he wouldn’t have been so bold in parodying politicians when Jayalalithaa, who was infamous for her intolerance, was still alive.

Though everyone associates Amudhan’s name with humour, the director says his next film could be on clinical depression.

“It will be an anthology film. I’ll be sure to make it clear in the marketing that there’s not a single joke in the film, so people don’t come expecting that. It will cater to the masses but it will be on clinical depression,” he says.

Despite the success of his first film, Amudhan says he faced distrust from the leading actors when he approached them for his next.

“The producers want you to do the same thing again. They don’t want you to do anything else. It’s very easy to be typecast. I learnt on the job. I had senior technicians helping me in the first film. Whatever mistakes I made were covered by them. Besides, there’s the advantage of making a spoof film… whatever logical errors you make are considered to be part of the spoof and would look funny,” he says.

Speaking on the rapport he shares with his lead actor Shiva, Amudhan says, “I had nobody else in mind when I started writing the film. Chennai 28 released before this and all those scenes were still fresh in my memory. We called him over for a meeting and he immediately agreed.”

There’s only one question left to ask Amudhan. Will the team have the famous ‘success meet’ of the film before its release or after?

Laughing, he says, “That’s answered in the film actually. There’s an entire scene devoted to that!”

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