The stills from Sowkarpettai have a lot of staring. The kind that says ‘someone scary is in my head’. Most striking of all is the white face with the big red dot, raccoon eyes, and the wild orange hair. Billowing. Clearly, a horror film. Out and proud. Both leads, Srikanth and Raai Laxmi, appear to be possessed by spirits. Incongruously, the film has been named after Sowkarpettai, one of the busiest shopping areas in Chennai. Here at the film’s audio launch, I’m hoping to find out why.
Director Vadiyudaiyan proudly says that there’s no place in Kodambakkam he hasn’t set foot on. He’s been an associate director for 27 films. Vadivukkarasi is full of complaints about the director. She says he’s so intent on getting the scenes right, he overlooks the comfort of his actors. That he doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘rest’. She adds ruefully, “Even though there was great food on the sets of the movie every day, we had to work so hard before we could eat it!” But, she concedes, that’s how sincere he is.
Srikanth is quick to jump to his director’s rescue, “Please do not take Vadivikkarasi amma‘s comments as complaints. She just wanted to convey how hardworking he is.” He adds, “He knows how to get the best out of his actors and that is his first priority. He’s keen on making sure the producer’s investment isn’t wasted. That’s why he tries to use his resources fully.”
Raai Laxmi is no stranger to horror films (Aranmanai, Kanchana). We find out that she’s also an expert in horror makeup. She used to help Srikanth with his makeup for his role in Maandrigan. Suman, who has acted in over 350 films in a career spanning 38 years, claimed that Sowkarpettai was his hardest role to date.
The trailer was more gory than scary. Replete with evil laughter, Lakshmi Rai and Srikanth yelling with their tongues hanging out, sub-par VFX. And worst of all, those white contact lenses. We never did find out about the name.