After Sarpatta Parambarai, Pa Ranjith is awaiting the release of Natchathiram Nagargiradhu, which sees the director returning back to the romance genre after a series of action entertainers. In this conversation with Ramya Subramanian, the filmmaker-producer talks about the film's plot and the portrayal of the queer community.
Pa Ranjith says that Natchathiram Nagargiradhu is not about the queer community. Instead, it talks about all forms of love. He says, " If we think love is only between men and women, it is not right; even nature says otherwise. Nature accepts and applies this. First of all, being queer is not an illness. Families have tried to take queer individuals to psychiatrists to cure them, but that's not how it works. It is a natural feeling, and I've portrayed characters who feel this way in my film. For instance, there is a gay couple, a transgender couple, and a lesbian couple in the film, and it also has straight relationships."
The director says that all of these characters in the film are from a theatre background. "These people together create a play where we see what love is in our society and why honour killings happen in the name of love. This film looks into the concept of caste and how it affects love."
Ranjith adds that he has portrayed the characters true to life in the film to show that the queer community is also like us. "Nothing is forced in the film. I think it's a radical thing for one to accept who they are and tell that they are queer. So, I wanted to realistically portray the people who have taken the courageous step to come out. I didn't try to change the shot or their acting to show a difference, as I didn't have any of those intentions. If there were 10 people, I wanted queer people also to be there casually and naturally. So, I've given importance to these characters in my film," says the filmmaker.
Though Ranjith has read many books on the queer community, he says he was conscious of the decision to portray the characters naturally in the film. He adds, "I wanted to show a positive side to this discussion, and show them as people without problems who are living their lives happily."
Speaking about the acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community in India, he asserts that though they are still not entirely accepted on a religious and cultural level, they have the support of the law, and the change is happening. "I think in today's contemporary lifestyle and age, people are moving towards accepting them. People from both elite status and subaltern levels have begun to accept them. To be precise, they started to accept them long back. For instance, if you go to Vada Chennai, if someone's family has a transgender individual, they are genuinely accepted, and it is considered very normal," he concludes.
Natchathiram Nagargiradhu starring Dushara Vijayan, Kalidas Jayaram, Kalaiyarasan, and others, is slated to hit the screens on August 31.