Arun Prabhu Purushothaman On Why He Chose A Surreal Ending For Vaazhl

“I narrated the story of Vaazhl to about thirty five producers before Sivakarthikeyan produced it,” says the filmmaker.
Arun Prabhu Purushothaman On Why He Chose A Surreal Ending For Vaazhl

Arun Prabhu Purushothaman's next Vaazhl after his debut in Aruvi, had a direct OTT release on SonyLIV. The director speaks about why he revealed the story in a nutshell with the opening image of the film, the reason for a surreal ending to a logical story, and how easy it was to find a producer for Vaazhl after a hit like Aruvi, in this interview with Baradwaj Rangan. Edited Excerpts…

From the opening image of the film we can see that a person frees himself from a difficult situation in the film. How did you decide that it should be the first image in the film?

Firstly, the ride through the film was going to be rocky for the audience and I wanted to introduce the idea of the film, like saying 'hello' when you meet someone and then getting into the subject. Secondly, the film is about how a person frees himself. I wanted to show that right at the beginning.

Aruvi was a hit and was discussed a lot. Was it easy to find a producer for a script like Vaazhl?

Since 2011, I've narrated the story of Vaazhl to about thirty five producers. Everyone would enjoy the narration but they would have questions about how I would execute it. Your ideas sound like something from The Lion King. They wondered if I'd be able to do it as a first film. But I had started working on the preproduction with Shelley [Calist] and Raymond [Derrick Crasta], including scouting locations. We realized we could do the film only if the producer trusted us completely.

At that point, I had also narrated it to Sivakarthikeyan anna. He was working on Manam Kothi Paravai after Marina. He was surprised that we were going to do it as a first film. After Aruvi, he entered the project. He told me he couldn't understand what we wanted to do but asked that we execute it and show him. I used to communicate details of the casting and shooting to him. But at every point, he told me that I needn't keep him updated. He asked me to make the film the way I wanted to. He trusted us completely. He also gave us a lot of helpful feedback after we showed him the film during editing. 

Pradeep Kumar has done an amazing job with the music in the film. If the film is a river, the music is like the banks. The music had individuality but at the same time didn't disturb the film. How did this happen?

We composed the music as if it were a radio drama, and then shot the film with it. We didn't use temp tracks. It also helped the actors a lot. With the music, they understand the context behind their performance. 

When the ending of a film is surreal like Vaazhl, where a logical film goes to a hallucinatory zone, were you worried how the audience would interpret it?

I wasn't afraid of that. Literature is either above or below the truth; it's a fiction. The most popular literature is surreal, though some might call it complex. Whether you read, or watch film, or hear music, your most favorite moments would be when boundaries were broken and you experienced something new. I write to experiment.

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