Sagiyae: A look from Suriavelan's perspective

Sagiyae is the sequel to Usuraiye Tholaichaen. Was a sequel always in plan since the release of the first MV?

We actually planned for 5 different sequels for Usuraiya Tholaichaen. Usuraiya Tholaichaen was released 1 month prior to the film Joe. At that point of time, I had the idea of making another film. Thus, my crew and I decided to make five different MVs that tells the tale of two lovers instead of a full fledged film.

This explains the reason why we had a cliffhanger at the end of each MV. We still have 3 more sequels in the planning. However, since the start of the first MV, we were always unsure on whether the genre will be accepted among the Indian audience.

Where did you film the video and long did you take to complete it?

We went to the Cameron Highlands to shoot for the video and it took us 3 days to complete the filming process. That is the usual period my crew and I would take to film a standard MV. Since the content and shots are on a smaller scale as compared to a feature film, we do not take up much days to film it.

What were some of the challenges you faced while filming for Sagiyae?

Looking for locations in Malaysia was quite challenging. The talents we were working with in Malaysia was helping us to sort out the admin details such as permission to shoot at the preferred locations and dealing with the communication authorities. Besides that, the traveling time taken from one location to the other was really long. We had to spend 6-7 hours traveling to the various places in the short span and that was an exhausting process.
In the MV, we had a shot that involves fire. My crew and I planned to take the shot in slow-motion. However, all the LED lights that we had were burnt out. For a slow-motion shot, a lot of LED lights were required and above all, it was shot during the night too. We had 3 vehicles with us that we used for traveling purposes. We had to strategically place the vehicles in a way, so that they could not be spotted on the camera and had to make use of the headlights to film the particular shot.

How is it like to work with your wife in the same MV?

It was actually easy working with my wife in the same MV. Let’s say if it was some new female lead, it would have taken me sometime to get to know her and make the chemistry work between us. Since my wife was the lead in the MV, I did not have to worry about the lead pair being awkward or artificial with each other.

What is the difference between working with her before marriage and after marriage?

Before marriage, she was just one of the casts in Usuraiya Tholaichaen. She had a call time to arrive at, get herself prepared, complete her scenes and she will leave. However, after she became my wife, she gave her share of inputs since the pre-planning stages. She had a major role in the behind-scenes of Sagiyae. Even my make-up for the MV was done by Rupini.

Why did you choose to cast Rupini instead of some other prominent actress in Usuraiya Tholaichaen and Sagiyae?

She had the charming features that would look pleasant on a TV . I have already seen her performance in Thedal and knew that she could act well. When my crew and I were looking for a female lead for the MV, we decided to zero in on her. In fact, she was the first cast to be confirmed for the project. Only after that, I decided to feature in my own MV since we could not find a suitable male lead till the last minute.

How did the idea of directing JOE first came to you?

I had the thought process of trying something new. At the end of the process, my team and I had a great satisfaction with our final results. In the beginning, while making the film, we did not expect the film to do well, for a song to become popular among the Indian audience or the movie goers to accept the film. We just had the idea of creating a concept never done before.

No matter where we go, there are always people around us to bring down our self-confidence by warning us on not to take a risk and try something new as it might not work in our favour. However, after the release of JOE, I realised the extent the audience would go to in order to appreciate Singaporean Indian talents. The audience are always ready to extend their support to the passionate and talented people.

Do you have any plans to direct more local films in the future?

Currently there are plans for my next story. This idea has been in consideration since the making of Joe. The pre-planning of my next film is still in the process. Hopefully, everything falls into place. I can’t give an official statement since nothing has been confirmed yet. The script work is ongoing now. We are still not sure on when the filming will commence.
Every film has its own obstacles to face. Let’s say if the film has a bold content, we might face challenges during its release. Thus, it all comes down to how smoothly the process takes place throughout the making of the film.

Apart from feature film, you have directed MVs as well. What made you to divert from films to MVs?

Directing MVs is not very different from directing films. Even in a film, there are 5 different songs to shoot for. We can’t direct 2 or 3 films in a year. At the same time, we should not forget the techniques that we have learnt. Therefore, MVs are an alternative to me and my team to refresh and keep up with our skills.

Doing a film is a mighty procedure in terms of budget and scale. Thus, MVs help us in recapping on the new skills learnt and with every MV, we upgrade the quality given to the audience.

Are there any reasons for you to collaborate with Malaysian Production banners instead of Singapore based production houses?

Mine is a Singapore based production house (360 Degrees Entertainment). When we looked at other banners, we came across Vikadakavi Productions who has helped us with projects such as JOE and Usuraiya Tholaichaen. When we initially planned JOE, we targeted Singapore and Malaysia.

Both the production houses came to a conclusion that 360 Degrees Entertainment will produce the film in Singapore, while Vikadakavi Productions will help to distribute the film. Apart from that, we needed their support in terms of getting location approvals in Malaysia for shooting purposes too. Thus, their involvement in this project was indeed a crucial one.

What are your upcoming TV journey plans after Yaar 2?

As of now, I am hosting a segment called “Varuthapadatha Rasigar Mandram” under the programme called Reel Network in Vasantham. That is the only TV show I am currently doing. I will definitely do more shows on TV if I get the opportunity.

Do you have an interest to direct your own feature drama on television too?

I am very interested in direction. It does not have to be only an MV, an independent film or a TV show. As long as I am comfortable and confident about the script, I’ll do it.

Acting, Direction and Editing. Which of these will you give your first preference to?

My childhood dream was to become an actor. I felt that becoming an actor might be a little difficult. Thus, I ventured into direction.

Are you planning to take up direction as a full time job?

I am actually doing this as a full time job. My involvement in the entertainment industry in the various roles such as an actor, director, host, etc is done on a full time basis. However, to keep us pre occupied we have to always ensure that there are adequate projects being done on a time to time basis.

In the entertainment industry, we can’t ensure on a certain amount of projects every month. Besides that, we have to always make sure to work with the right people whom we could get along with as well.

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