Kuruthi Aattam Director Sri Ganesh: Rahul Dravid is my inspiration

Kuruthi Aattam is an important film for actor Atharvaa and director Sri Ganesh. Atharvaa, who showed his potential with Balas Pardesi (2013), is yet to make his breakthrough. On the other hand, Sri Ganesh, who made a solid debut in 2017 with 8 Thottakal, has stayed under the radar for the past five years. And no doubt many hopes rest on Kuruthi Aattam. However, when I sat down for an interview with the duo, they seemed calm and composed.

Here are excerpts from the interview:

What do you think is the USP of Kuruthi Aattam?

Atharvaa: To be honest, I took the film because of Sri Ganesh’s first film, 8 Thottakal. What a movie! I trusted the director and when he told me the script of Kuruthi Aattam, a gangster story set in Madurai, I was convinced. Let’s get to the film’s unique selling point: all the characters in the film are complex. They are not one dimensional. There is no villain in the film. Even the seemingly negative type has its justification. That is the fascinating part of Kuruthi Aattam.

Sri Ganesh: I always like to make films about interesting characters. More than narration, I love adding depth to characters. For example, two people are fighting. I want to tell the audience where they come from and why they do what they do. This is Kuruthi Aattam’s USP.

On the one hand, Atharvaa moves at a steady pace, making one film after another. It has now taken Sri Ganesh about five years to develop his second film. Why such a pace?

Atharvaa: At first I didn’t dare to record a lot at once. It wasn’t until I worked in Etti and Kanthian at the same time that I realized that I was capable of multitasking. However, I prefer to treat things individually. When you have too much on your plate and things don’t go your way, it hurts.

Sri Ganesh: It took me a while to write the screenplay. But the delay wasn’t due to writer’s block. A lot is not in our hands. You will see more of my work over the next few days.

Your character dies in your debut film Bana Kaathadi. You later did the heartbreaking Pardesi. And in your last film, Thalli Pogathey, you end up heartbroken. do you like tragedy

Atharvaa: (laughs) I keep asking myself that. I asked myself if I am a sad person. To be honest, I’m a very positive person. I avoid talking about anything negative and always deal with failure with hope. On the other hand, tragedies usually stick with the audience in films.

At an event, Sri Ganesh said that you helped him with the script. What relationship do you both share?

Atharvaa: I don’t think I’ve done anything. He (Sri Ganesh) is kind. We were just talking about my character and some practical aspects of his actions. Honestly, it’s all him. I have no part in it. As far as our relationship is concerned, Sri Ganesh is a soft-spoken person and I had to be extremely careful not to offend him with anything I said. He chooses his words carefully, which obliges us to do the same.

As such a mild-mannered person, how do you deal with the whole set during filming?

Sri Ganesh: Athravaa keeps dissing me for that (laughs). The game is different on the sets. You have to deal with hundreds of people. I have to shout and coordinate. This is not a problem.

Let’s talk about the title, Kuruthi Aattam (Dance of Blood). Many people are suspicious of blood and violence. Didn’t you think the title will keep her away from the film?

Sri Ganesh: Hey! If you put it that way, I’m a little scared and worried now (laughs). We were after the excitement around the words of Kuruthi Aattam. It also has a different subtext. It’s about blood and family ties. The extent to which a man will go for his family is another ongoing theme here. More than violence, it has a lot to do with human emotions.

Atharvaa: The film has violence, but we chose not to exploit it with too much blood. Sri Ganesh told me that I want the film to be family friendly.

Sri Ganesh, you have an eye for talent. They introduced Aparna Balamurali to Tamil cinema. Now she has won the National Award.

Sri Ganesh: I am happy about this compliment. I think there’s a kind of intuition that tells me that this actor would work well for certain roles. I’m very happy for Aparna and even Manikandan who worked with me did it. I’m looking for a passion in people. That brings me to good talent.

So, did you find these things in Atharvaa?

Sri Ganesh: Definitive. What I love about him is that he doesn’t see acting as a day job. He is engaged in it full-time. For a Kabbadi sequence in the film, he trained in the sport himself. He also deals with production aspects of the film such as poster making.

As someone who has become a director unreservedly, what is your advice to people with dreams like this?

Sri Ganesh: Grit is the only thing that has helped me get through these five years. I keep talking about Rahul Dravid being my inspiration (laughs). Whatever the bowlers throw at him, he just defends them no matter what. You also have to learn to accept rejection. I can’t expect everyone to accept my vision.

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