Director and actor Vineeth Sreenivasan

Edited excerpts from an interview between Vineeth Sreenivasan and Vivek Ranjit:

One of the criticisms raised against you as filmmaker is that you’ve become THE ambassador of feel-good cinema. Instead of focussing on the harsh realities and truths of life, some say that your films are lighter, often with an easy solution in it. How do you look at such feedback?
I’m not a part of many online groups. So, I’m not fully aware of what goes on in those. Basically, I try not to stick around too long in places with a lot of negativity. I find nothing wrong in these discussions about my movies, though. I too agree that I don’t do too many films based on harsh realities, but I see it differently. In fact, I did Thira, which was not really ‘feel good’. See, when you work on a movie, it creates an emotional impact. When I was working on Thira, there was a lot of research. I used to read a lot about people such as Sunita Krishnan and Anuradha Koirala. So, when my wife did not get home by 7, I used to get worried. Because, all I was reading about was trafficking and kidnapping. Somewhere, it starts creating a fear within you. I went through a lot of tough emotions during Thira. That was one of the reasons I decided I would henceforth do ‘happy movies’. Doing such films always takes away a part of you. Now, my plan is to work on certain kinds of films only once I’ve hit middle age…maybe, when I’m 45 or so. That’s also because my son is growing up, and I want him to be in a happy space, in a family where there’s a lot of peace of mind. I don’t want to spend more than two years working on a dark subject at this point of time. I also think that with age, it will be easier for me to separate work and family life.

An annual viral hit when you work with Shaan Rahman has almost become the norm. How would you describe your working chemistry with the music director? Has it helped you in terms of filmmaking as well? I have heard that you also spend a lot of time creating music and background scores together.
Actually, we complete our films quite quickly. We completed the score for Jacobinte Swargarajyam in just seven days. Aravindante Adhithikal took just five days. We work very quickly. Even when working on my film, Shaan simultaneously works one or two other films. So, we work in such a way that it doesn’t affect the other films. We’re able to do that because we’ve been working together for so long and we have that sync. Shaan has a very clear idea about what I like. During Anandam, he even sent certain portions for DTS without sending them to me, because he knew I’d like it.

Vineeth Sreenivasan in Manoharam
Vineeth Sreenivasan in Manoharam

Just like Gautham Vasudev Menon chose to work with AR Rahman and Ilaiyaraaja despite having a great chemistry with Harris Jayaraj, do you think you’ll ever work with another composer?
Not exactly. We both like several highly-talented composers who are still struggling. We discuss how we will work with them in future. If I choose to work with an upcoming composer, Shaan will not have any issues. I don’t really think it will affect our friendship either. Even during Manoharam, I told Shaan that the director wants a composer who can travel with the project for about six or seven months. So, he suggested we try working with another composer because he already had four or films. We’re open enough to discuss these things because there’s a friendship that’s above it.

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