How did #Home happen? What was the first idea?
The idea struck me seven years ago. My dad wanted me to explain how one could recharge the phone using a desktop. I was wondering how I teach this to someone who doesn’t even know how to switch on the UPS. I tried staying away from him for a couple of days and then I too taught him like how Charles does it in the film. That’s when I noticed that he was taking notes of it on his diary. Then I let him do it alone and he was trying to work it out looking at that diary. Obviously, we will have to do it alone to see if we’ve understood and when his phone got switched on and the sound of the notification popped up, there was a happiness on his face that I hadn’t seen in 25 years of my life then. That was the moment the idea was born. I wanted to show that people struggling with technology are still around us in this world.
There are some similarities between the characters of Charles and Antony? Yet, there are differences too. Charles even asks some questions after Antony hurts their dad? How did you manage to differentiate these two characters?
They are brothers and they have the same parenting. They are similar and if you look at Antony’s character, he is not rude. He is actually involved in his book and at that time he talks impolitely to dad. When I write a scene, I always believe that there should be a character trait that the audience can relate to. That is what Charles does. He asks a question that’s running in the minds of the audience at that point.
You also also touched upon the topic of human psychology in the film. Did you do have to do research for it?
I did not do any separate research for #Home. I wanted the audience to feel a sort of freshness and that’s why the story went in that path. There is a misconception about people going to psychologists and they start thinking of them as someone with some sort of mental illness. Even educated people think that way. I wanted to break that thought. It is like someone coming in and cleaning our room that’s a mess. The same works for the mind. It is like a decluttering. To showcase the danger of phone addiction, the character of a psychologist is a must-have. Producer Vijay himself did that role even though he was not willing at first. He is kind of impatient, I wanted that kind of person to do that role.
Was Indrans your first choice to play Oliver Twist?
No, not at all. When I first discussed this script with Vijay sir, he liked it very much and he told me to write further without keeping the cast in mind. If you look at my first movie Philip And The Monkey Pen, a 10 year old was the hero and if you look at my second movie a 60 year old was the hero. So it is not really possible to get the usual stars on board and Vijay sir gives you the freedom to express yourself. The film took five years to be made. During this phase we saw the rise of a brilliant actor in Indrans ettan. He is in industry for 40 years and his potential has been used only in the past five years.
Usually when it comes to pets in the movies, it will either be a dog or a cat. In #Home, there is a unique sequence with the aquarium. Can you describe that?
Actually, the fish used in the movie is my own. I bought it nine years ago and it is a rare type of fish. We got attached to it quickly but sadly, it is no longer with us. Even though the film is fiction, I wanted everything else to be realistic. When I was thinking about the idea of starting the movie, it actually broke the aquarium and it fell out like it does in the movie. I thought that was be an interesting touch to have as the first scene.