Tamil Interviews

Sarath Kumar’s ‘Irai’ to Premiere on Aha on Feb 18; Director Rajesh M Selva Says Series on Child Abuse was Tricky to Handle

Irai, the upcoming Tamil series starring actor Sarath Kumar, is set to premiere on Aha Tamil on Friday. The series is part of the initial slate of Tamil releases on the streaming platform.


It is directed by filmmaker Rajesh M Selva, who has previously helmed the films Thoongaa Vanam (2015) and Kadaram Kondan (2019). The series is produced by Radikaa Sarathkumar‘s Radaan Mediaworks India Limited and marks the banner’s OTT debut.

Irai is based on a novel named Birds of Prey, written by Archana Sarat, and it marks director Rajesh’s first series as well. Speaking to Silverscreen India, he reveals that adapting the book, which he calls “very raw and hard-hitting,” to the screen was quite tricky.

“The series discusses topics of child abuse and trafficking, something so sensitive but at the same time, something that families need to be aware of. The book merely describes this, but in visual media we have the liberty of showing it. However, visually portraying the abuse of a child is rather challenging. We need to take into account who will be watching the content. We have to show the trauma that the child goes through without crossing the line. It needs a fine balance,” he notes.

The screenplay for the series has been written by the director in collaboration with Manoj Kumar Kalaivanan and Rajesh Manjunath. “After acquiring the rights to the book, Radaan approached me with the idea of creating a series, sometime during February-March 2021. After that, we worked on the screenplay.”

In the series, Sarath Kumar plays a cop named Robert Vasudevan. “We were determined not to make Sarath sir look like any of the number of burly cop roles he has previously done. His character is also the father to a daughter. The series shows how he handles the child trafficking case, while also showing what the children go through in parallel,” says Rajesh.

The cast of Irai includes Nizhalgal Ravi, Abishek Shankar, Sri Krishna Dayal, Gouri Nair, Shrisha, Sriranjani Prabhu, Rethika Srinivasan, Vaanmadhi, Karuppu Nambiar, Ravindra Vijay, and Gokul Anand.

The series was shot in Kodaikanal in 2021 by cinematographer S Yuva, the director’s college-mate. It marks their first collaboration. Irai has music by Ghibran and is edited by San Lokesh.

Asked if there will be a second season of Irai, the filmmaker says that the makers are yet to decide on it. “It has the potential to go on with another season, but the team and platform has to take a call on that,” he adds.

Rajesh, who says he “comes from the school of Kamal Haasan,” having worked with Raaj Kamal Films International on various films, is thrilled to witness the current OTT boom. “In 2010-11, Kamal sir spoke about releasing Vishwaroopam via the Direct-to-Home (DTH) method. Now, this same DTH is being called OTT. After Covid-19, this medium’s reach has been astounding.”


The filmmaker notes that when making content for OTT platforms, one can do away with certain elements that are needed to cater to the mainstream audience in films made for the big screen. He adds that he was thus very keen to make content for this new medium.

Rajesh also refers to OTT as a “technician’s medium,” and cites the example of Sarpatta Parambarai that premiered on Amazon Prime Video in 2021. “At the same time, the theatrical experience is something that cannot be matched. I want to parallelly work in both these spaces.”

Rajesh reveals that he has brought together a team of young writers to create a “den” and a bank of content. “This is very exciting for me. We have formed this team of writers as content is the king now. I am also working on multiple scripts,” he says, before signing off.