Driver Jamuna, the upcoming Tamil film starring Aishwarya Rajesh in the lead, is a crime thriller that happens predominantly in a car, director P Kinslin tells Silverscreen India.
Speaking about his sophomore directorial, Kinslin, who has previously directed Vathikuchi (2013), says, “In recent times, be it in auto-rickshaws, cab aggregators or food delivery service, women drivers have increased. In this story, Aishwarya Rajesh plays a cab driver and the whole story happens on a trip from one part of the city to another. An unfortunate incident occurs during the trip and how she faces it and comes out of it, is the film.”
About casting Aishwarya, Kinslin says that he needed a versatile artist who could perform well, and at the same time, knew how to drive. “She has acted in film ranging from Chekka Chivantha Vaanam to Ka Pae Ranasingam and Kaaka Muttai, and has proved her versatility,” he says.
The director calls Aishwarya’s performance the “highlight” of the film, and especially praises her for acting while simultaneously driving the car. “We shot on live locations and she drove the car herself. Aishwarya is an ace driver and that helped the film immensely,” he adds.
In addition to direction, Kinslin has also written the script of Driver Jamuna. “I entered the industry in 2013 and I have been writing since then. I wrote this script around 2019. I narrated it soon after to Aishwarya. However, there was a delay in production due to the lockdown restrictions in the past two years. A few from our team were also affected by Covid-19,” he says.
The film was shot almost entirely in Chennai during the 2020-2021 period, by cinematographer Gokul Benoy. “We took care not to disrupt the public order. We took the permissions needed and for the action sequences, we picked locations on the outskirts of Chennai, where there wouldn’t be a lot of traffic,” says Kinslin.
The film’s technical team also includes editor R Ramar and Don Bala as art director. Driver Jamuna is produced by SP Chowthari. Ghibran has composed the music for the film, which features only one song. “There is more importance given to the re-recording and sound design,” says the filmmaker.
On centring the film around a female protagonist, Kinslin says, “She is just a driver who also happens to be a woman. It is a story about a driver, it could be Jamuna or Jagan. We don’t say a woman doctor, so why do we need to describe a driver by their gender. I merely took the choice to cast an actress instead of an actor.”
However, before filming, the team did take the time to speak to women drivers, he adds. “Even Aishwarya Rajesh spoke to some of them to understand her role better. We conversed with about 40-50 women drivers, participated in the functions they hold, and observed how they behave.”
The film is currently in post-production and the team is looking for a June release in theatres. In addition to Tamil, Drive Jamuna will also release in Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam.
Kinslin reveals that he will be collaborating with Aishwarya once again for a very different film from this one. “It will be in complete contrast to Drive Jamuna.”