It has been ten years since Maari’s love for Thangarasu failed; ten years since the release of Poo, a romantic drama directed by Sasi, starring Srikanth and Parvathy in the lead.
The film is about a girl from a village – Maari (Parvathy) – who falls in love with her cousin Thangarasu (Srikanth) and stays in love, even as an adult. But Maari marries a small-time vendor while Thangarasu weds the daughter of an oil mill owner.
The film, set against a rural backdrop, is based on the short story titled Veyilodu Poi, written by Tamil Selvan. Talking about the film to Vikatan, director Sasi said, “When I was twenty, I read the story for the first time. After reading it, I wanted to show Maari’s heart to the world. Moreover, I wanted many to get to know the story, and that is the only reason I entered cinema. But soon after entering the industry, I realised the practicalities of the trade – that I cannot film what I want to right away. So Poo happened only after I made Sollamale, Roja Kootam and Dishyum.”
Sasi added, “Though I have made many films after Poo, it remains my favorite.”
Talking about his experience of making the film, Sasi said: “Since I was born and brought up in the city, I had no idea about village life. So I wanted to learn their culture before making the film. I stayed in a village in Rajapalaiyam for nearly eight months. It is a land of black soil, where I got to meet writers like Shamana Perumal, Tamil Selvan, Melanmai Ponnusamy and many others.”
I didn’t know what a kalli pazham (cactus fruit) was, Sasi revealed. “There is a scene in which Parvathy goes in search of the fruit. Likewise, during my stay in the village, I went in search of the fruit.”
Talking about choosing Parvathy for the film, he said, “I thought Parvathy will suit the character of the girl. When I was looking for the cast, a friend of mine in the Malayalam industry showed me a picture of Roma Asrani of Notebook fame. I watched the film for Roma, but I saw Parvathy standing among the four girls and decided that she is the suitable one for the character.”
Sasi recalled that when he narrated the story to Parvathy, she’d immediately agreed. “She did a lot of homework for the film. She would do only one film at a time then. She would visit the fireworks factory and learn how to pack the fireworks. She even wore the clothes of the girls who worked there.”
The director said that Inigo Prabhakaran was chosen to play the male lead initially. “Later, he played Parvathy’s husband and Srikanth became the lead. Srikanth told me that he wanted to do the film even if the character isn’t important. We slightly darkened his skin and made his teeth brown. He fully cooperated.”
Talking about the film turning ten Sasi said, “I’m happy to see people celebrating the film even after so many years. But the fact was, when it released, it did not reach everyone. People were able to accept the love story of a man who was about to get married in Azhagi, but they weren’t able to accept the love of a woman before her wedding.”
“A guy who watched my film told me that he watched it four times. When I asked him whether he took his wife along, he said he did not want to remind her of her past love story,” Sasi said, “That is the major drawback of the film. The reason it did not reach everyone.”