Connect, the upcoming Tamil horror film starring Nayanthara in the lead, is a cinematic portrayal of all the emotions that director Ashwin Saravanan felt during the Covid-19 lockdown.
In conversation with Silverscreen India, the filmmaker says, “I was feeling stressed and anxious; the times were very uncertain. There was hopelessness and uncertainty about whether we would ever recover from it. I wanted to portray those emotions in a film and I realised the only genre that would work for my purpose was horror. Anxiety, dread, sense of hopelessness and fear – the horror genre lends itself to these emotions beautifully.”
“We chose the title Connect because, during the lockdown, all of us found it hard to connect with those around us. I want to capture that in the film. What happens when we are unable to connect, is one of layers that we have explored,” he adds.
Connect marks Ashwin’s second collaboration with Nayanthara after the 2015 neo-noir Tamil horror film Maya. The filmmaker says he initially felt that it was not a “conventional film to pitch” to the actor, but chose to make the attempt anyway. The chance paid off. Not only did Nayanthara agree to play the lead, she also decided to back the film under her Rowdy Pictures banner with partner and filmmaker Vignesh Shivan.
Besides Nayanthara, the film also features actors Haniya Nafisa, Sathyaraj and Anupam Kher in prominent roles, and they were all first choices for the parts, reveals the director.
The makers released posters of the film last week featuring Nayanthara and Haniya Nafisa.
“It is a faithful and focused horror film, and does not feature any songs, romance or extraneous subplots. I did not want to water down a good horror movie with such elements. I want to push the boundaries and ensure that it measures up to good Western counterparts,” the filmmaker tells us.
“At the same time, Connect is also a human story with real characters that talks about relationships and the problems people face,” he adds.
The story is written by Ashwin in association with Kaavya Ramkumar, marking their second collaboration after Game Over.
Ashwin says he treats his films not just as “genre exercise” but also as a way to explore human stories. “Maya was a horror film, but it was also about motherhood. Game Over was not just a psychological thriller; it was also about trauma and recovery. I like to chew on themes that I find fascinating while working on genre films. Connect is another such film.”
The project is expected to go on floors either in the last week of November or early December. Connect will be shot by Manikantan Krishnamachary with Richard Kevin serving as the editor. The background score will be composed by Prithvi Chandrasekhar.
The director reveals that the team is considering developing a franchise out of Connect. “However, we have to first see how this film turns out.”
Asked about the release plans for the film, he says it is too early to comment on that given the stars are all working on multiple other projects.