Report by Sanjana Chakraborty, Photos by Sriram Narasimhan
Dharma Durai‘s press meet at RKV Studios on 3 August, was a rather sombre affair in contrast to its grand audio launch at Sathyam Cinemas hours earlier. The glitz and glamour of the morning’s event was missing – the cast and crew had dressed down and appeared more candid than they were in the morning.
After the trailer and songs were screened, the crew took to the stage to address the media. “It will be along the lines of a thaaru maaru film,” said the director, Seenu Ramasamy, admitting that he sought inspiration from the visuals of the film Kumki. Since the film traces the journey of a man from his college days to his profession as a doctor in a village, Suresh assured everyone that the film will have ‘college-like’ moments as seen in Malayalam film Premam (2015).
To Aishwarya Rajesh, listening to the script was secondary as she had faith in the filmmakers from the beginning. “My character’s name is Anbu Selvi and I play a girl from the village,” she said when asked about her character, before describing what it was like to work with the team. “Working with actors like Tamannaah Bhatia and Vijay Sethupathi is a dream,” she said.
Between speeches, several members of the film highlighted the story behind the title. “It was initially supposed to be just Dharman. But RK Suresh, the producer of the film, felt that it wouldn’t be as catchy as Dharma Durai. The title definitely has a better ring to it now,” said director Seenu Ramasamy. He pointed out that the landscape visuals from a city to a village life was bound to be noteworthy thanks to cinematographer Sugumar.
Srushti Dange, one of the prominent female characters in the film, spoke of her experience with working with the team. “When you look at Vijay Sethupathi, he has such a ‘Come on, man!’ like attitude, always up and ready for work. I would practice my dance and lines constantly while he would simply just come in front of the camera and do what he does best. I learnt a lot from such a natural actor,” she said, before adding that most of her dialogues were given my Seenu Ramasamy himself, without any script in hand.
Seenu Ramasamy, in addition to extending his gratitude to the cast and crew, was all praises for the actresses. “The energy Tamannaah Bhatia has, is commendable. When I first approached her for the film, she was dressed in a T-shirt with ‘Leave Me Alone’ written on it. I was a little shocked and apprehensive about narrating the story to her. But her excitement was evident and I ended up narrating the entire story for hours,” he reminisced. Ramasamy compared actress Aishwarya Rajesh, who plays one of the supporting roles in the film, to stalwarts such as Smita Patil and Shabana Azmi, and described Srushti Dange as a child who would always have a smile on her face.
Lastly, Vijay Sethupathi took to the stage, keeping his speech short and simple. “My character, Dharma Durai is very egoistic. I wasn’t too thrilled but, the main reason behind this film is purely because of Seenu Sir. I have faith in him having worked with him from before,” he said.
Dharma Durai will release sometime this season.