Making a sequel to a celebrated film is always tricky. While the anticipation surrounding it guarantees a certain visibility, thereby strengthening its box-officer prospects, the biggest risk is that its success, both at quality and commercial level, is heavily influenced by how it fares in comparison with its predecessor. It’s almost impossible for the viewer to avoid this comparison. It’s a double-edged sword because the viewers step into a sequel expecting to experience something similar to the original, but if the film redoes exactly what the first film does, it’s seen as a hack to capitalise on the success.
Filmmaker Karthik Subbaraj, whose Jigarthanda DoubleX will hit the screens on November 10, coinciding with Diwali, is well aware of all the challenges, and states that he considered all these factors while penning the new film. “We started discussing the story idea of a sequel long back and I even met Raghava Lawerence sir when I was making Iraivi (2016). But I knew about all these challenges and the film was still fresh in everyone’s memory. So I decided to keep it for later. When writing the script, I was very careful about retaining the feel and experience that the audience got while watching Jigarthanda. But I was cautious that the film or the characters don’t remind them of Jigarthanda.”
Elaborating on how he treated the sequel, Karthik adds, “We also gave it a fresh treatment in its making style. For instance, Jigarthanda featured a lot of montages, especially in the first half, but while writing DoubleX, I was clear to not have any montages. The treatment is also in a very classic, western style, with wide angles, landscapes, slow movement shots. We didn’t go for fast cuts at all. It was all carefully thought out during the making. That’s why we are calling it ‘A Pandya Western’. The audience can feel the flavour of Jigarthanda but they won’t feel like they are seeing the same film again.”
Karthik has always been vocal about his admiration for Quentin Tarantino and The Coen Brothers, and hat tips to the celebrated American filmmakers can be found in his previous films—with the interval shot of Jigarthanda being the most significant one. Despite the influences, how does he still manage to stay original? “Yes, we do see a lot of films and some of them impact us a lot. It seeps into our minds subconsciously. And when you are making a film, the influence can be reflected subconsciously. And I don’t stop it either. In case, violence is shot stylishly in an action sequence, it’ll definitely have a Tarantino reference. If it’s not so obvious or desperate, I retain it. If it looks so apparent, I’ll change it. This film, especially is a dedication to the Western genre, mainly Clint Eastwood films. I love the films he directed too. So this is an ode to that kind of filmmaking. So this will have that Western influence. And it was made with a clear-cut thought to look like a western.”