While 'Lady Superstar' Nayanthara continues to be the top commercial heroine in Tamil cinema, being paired with Ajith and Sivakarthikeyan, she also makes it a point to act in smaller content-oriented films, where an actress of her stature is the only draw. She starred in Dora and Aramm last year and will soon be seen in Kolamavu Kokila (CoCo).
"I was halfway through the script when Nayan ma'am gave her nod. I didn't need to make any modifications to the script as she just fitted into my story completely. She insisted that nothing be tweaked for her sake. She plays Kokila, who's an introverted character. The film depicts her reactions to situations and how she faces the people around her. Saranya Ponvannan plays her mother, and Yogi Babu will be seen throughout the film. You have to see the film to know the significance of the word 'Kolamavu' in the title," said director Nelson, who is currently busy with post-production work and is locking the final edit.
Compared to Dora and Aramm, the pre-release buzz around CoCo is a lot higher, thanks to its music director Anirudh. Two of CoCo's songs have been released so far – the melodious motivational number 'Edhuvaraiyo' and the super-fun 'Kalyaana Vayasu', currently making waves on the internet.
In just a week, 'Kalyaana Vayasu' has clocked more than 7 million views. Anirudh's groovy tune, Sivakarthikeyan's cheeky lyrics, the concept of a comedian wooing a big heroine, Yogi Babu's unabashed antics and the beautiful cinematography seem to have clicked big-time with viewers.
In a recent interview, Yogi Babu said that the song was Nelson's brainchild. He added that Nayanthara was very cooperative and sportive as she wanted the song to be memorable. The two also re-shot some portions a few days before the video was released. The comic actor, who is also part of Vijay's 62nd film directed by A.R. Murugadoss, said the star really enjoyed his antics.
Nelson said he was thrilled with the huge response to this song. "It's not just a promo song; it will be a part of the film too. I read reports that Kolamavu Kokila is a dark comedy, but it's just not that; there will be comedy, emotions and also other general high points woven together. The film will have six songs, of which the remaining four will be released together."
He also spoke about how Anirudh came on board. "I was a part of the team for Anirudh's concerts. While I was working on the script, I told him the core idea and he found it interesting. Then Nayan ma'am and Lyca Productions joined us and the film became bigger."
The film was recently mired in controversy, owing to allegations of plagiarism against Anirudh. There were suggestions that he lifted 'Kalyaana Vayasu' from Sannan's 'Don't Lie'. The composer took to Twitter to announce that he had bought the beats legally.
Nelson defended the composer, saying, "All composers, including Rahman sir, do this. They legally buy the rights to beats and loops, which they use in their songs. As Anirudh had tweeted, it's a lack of awareness that leads people to use derogatory words like 'copy' and 'fake'. He has just taken the groove and used it in the song. Inspiration is a part and parcel of music and such collaborations between music producers must be welcomed."
Nelson and Sivakarthikeyan go a long way back, having worked together in Vijay TV. How did he convince the popular hero to turn lyric writer for the first time? "The song's situation and comic style demanded it. We can't approach him for a 'Narumugaye' (Iruvar) type of classical song. We were looking for someone new and thought he would be apt to write the lyrics. It isn't a mere promotional gimmick! There aren't many lyricists in the category that we needed for this song. We convinced him and he pulled it off with ease. All the trendy lines in the song are a result of his imagination." he said.
Long before Kolamavu Kokila, Nelson was set to make his directorial debut with Vettai Mannan, a gangster movie starring Simbu, which was launched with great fanfare. Would he revive this stalled project if the opportunity presented itself?
'It depends on the producer – Chakravarthy sir – and Simbu. They have to decide and take a call. It's not in my hands. We launched Vettai Mannan more than five years ago and completed about 50% of the shoots. It was a grand affair, but unfortunately, we couldn't proceed. Times have changed and cinema has changed too. If they decide to revive the project, we have to make sure that it will be a viable proposition and a win-win situation for all parties. The logistics have to be reworked and the film has to be accommodated within current trends. It has to be a collective decision from all concerned departments. But I continue to be on good terms with Simbu," he said.