A few years after Kanthaswamy’s release, director Susi Ganeshan decided to move to Mumbai to try a hand at making movies there. He started his production house and made his first Hindi film, Shortcut Romeo, a remake of the Tamil sleeper hit Thiruttu Payale. Almost everyone asked him why he was shifting when he was doing well in Tamil, and told him that with distance, people would forget him. But, Susi told them that the day he returned, so would the memories.
That’s exactly what happened when the director started work on the sequel, nearly a decade after Thiruttu Payale’s release. “When you’ve made a place for yourself with your very first film, people tend to remember you. And, these days distances just don’t matter,” says Susi, who’s been promoting Thiruttu Payale 2 across media.
The director marked his reentry with an advertisement for the film — a black goat wearing a cop’s cap in the midst of white goats.
This was followed by an audio teaser featuring the leads’ speaking. The intrigue has slowly been building up, and the talented cast has contributed to the buzz too. A director’s cut of the trailer only added to the excitement.
At its heart, Thiruttu Payale was about invasion of privacy and its repercussions, and Thiruttu Payale 2 will follow a similar path but with a different flavour, says the director. “But, the present generation will identify with it, because it speaks their language. If you needed a video camera to record in Thiruttu Payale, these days, many gadgets are like a fly on the wall. I read somewhere that social media has become some sort of an asylum for people. It has changed the nature of their responses. If someone posts photos of a holiday, the first response is of jealously, not happiness like it used to be earlier. The film is about how one has to be careful, because technology and data mining have ensured that someone is always watching over us.”
Speaking about the cast, primarily Prasanna, Bobby Simha and Amala Paul, Susi claims that this film will find a place among the best works in their careers. “When I introduced Prasanna 15 years ago in Five Star, he was fragile. I had to teach him everything including camera angles. Today, he’s transformed the way he looks. I’ll call him a graduate in acting now,” he smiles.
Susi’s films — Five Star, Thiruttu Payale, Kanthaswamy, Shortcut Romeo, and now Thiruttu Payale 2, have always used technology in some form. Is that a throwback to his days at the Madras Institute of Technology? “I’ve always been fond of technology. I think I am able to explain things in a simple manner because engineering teaches you to approach any issue with a different perspective. And, I’ve made a film on social media despite the fact that I joined Facebook and Twitter just during the promotions of the film!”
That said, each film of his has dwelt upon a different issue. “I’m particular about not just the story but also the tone of each film. For instance, in Kanthaswamy, I avoided blue. I like to break predictability; Thiruttu Payale 2 has mostly been shot in green and yellow. And, while the original was a dark commercial film, this one’s all bright and stylish, because it is ultimately about a white collar crime.”
Speaking about Kanthaswamy, the conversation veers towards the mixed reviews upon its release, and how it is still relevant, post the demonetisation initiative. In fact, many revisited the film that spoke in depth about black money. And, contrary to what people believed, the movie made a huge profit for its producers. “It was made on a budget of Rs 23 crore. It made Rs 52 crore,” says Susi.
With Thiruttu Payale 2 film releasing today (November 30), Susi has taken a call to reduce the gap between his movies. “I have to change that about myself. I take a lot of time in pre- and post-production. I write my own movies, and need an average of three years between movies. That has to go.”
And, yes, he will continue to live in Mumbai, where his family lives. “These days, the distance is not a matter worth discussing. We are all connected in real time. And so, I plan to work in both Hindi and Tamil.”
Like his other films, the music for his film (Vidyasagar) is already clocking clicks. “I like to invest in people. I introduced Ravi Varman as cinematographer in Five Star. For this film, I’ve brought on board Chelladurai. He used to work with KV Anand when I was doing Virumbigiraen. When you sign on talented people and you create magic on screen, it leaves you with an indescribable high.”