Director Radha Mohan explains why all his films, like the upcoming Uppu Karuvadu, will have an element of comedy
Everyone who has seen Abhiyum Naanum remembers the examination preparation scene where Prakash Raj is memorising the name of Alexander’s horse. Very few of us know that director Radha Mohan encountered the very same question when he wrote a bank exam before turning director. “My answer to the question was Panchakalyani, a popular Tamil film — no wonder I didn’t make it past the exam,” he chuckles adding that he can’t imagine a career beyond directing and telling stories. Relaxed and in high spirits, Mohan’s replies are quick and laced with humour as we chat about his new film Uppu Karuvadu over masala chai (his favourite) at Amethyst Café. Taking it further he says the film is about youngsters who compromise on their dream for small term benefits and about the realisation that it gets them nowhere. “I did not realise that the film had a message till I finished it, but a social message has come out beautifully amidst the laugh riot,” he smiles. So is that his classic formula since all his films have a strong social message tinged with humour? “The audiences seem to label me that way and I’m okay with it. I attempted a different genre with Gauravam but it didn’t go too well with them. Comedy comes naturally to me and I decided to keep that humour very strong in all my films,” says Mohan. Conceptualised back in 2012, the film has taken over three years to finish. “I intended to do a Malayalam Tamil bi-lingual with Prithviraj Sukumaran but that got pushed, hence the delay, ” says Mohan adding that the film with Sukumaran is still very much on his list. Reportedly the film will have the Mohanlal-Prithviraj duo. As for Uppu Karuvadu, Menon excitedly tells us that Gautham Menon has sung a song for the film, titled Pudhu Oru Kanavu. “Menon recommended the music director Steve Vatz for the film and he has done a beautiful job,” he adds.
Famous for writing characters and then choosing the artistes who will fit the roles, the film has actor Karunakaran and actress Nanditha Shwetha in the lead. Co-produced under his banner Night Show Cinema, the feature is set along the coast of Chennai and has a strong comic cast comprising of MS Baskar, Mayilsamy, Kumaravel, Chams, Narayanan, and Mohan says the film rests on all their shoulders. Mohan’s films are known for their strong female protagonists, be it Jyotika in Mozhi or Trisha in Abhiyum Naanum, and now reportedly Nanditha in the upcoming film. “It was never conscious, I just like showing my women having a mind of their own,” he says stating that from the current crop of films, he finds Jyotika’s rendition in 36 Vayathinile extremely appealing.
Mohan is all praise for Vijay Sethupathy and Siva Karthikeyan among the new actors in town and hopes to pen a script for them one day. Dhanush remains a big dream. One that he’s “been trying to fulfil for a while,” he muses. On a day away from the movies, Mohan keeps himself busy with family and books. “I don’t believe in working late into the night. I want to strike a perfect work balance,” he shares. His book shelf currently stocks Tamil literature, especially works of literary writer Jeyamohan. Talking about the future, Mohan is hoping the remake of Mozhi with Boney Kapoor actually materialises. “We were supposed to have Kajol play Jyotika, and then it was Priyanka. I would even love Kangana Ranaut to play the role, though we are yet to see when it actually happens,” he says. The conversation turns to future plans in Tamil and he stares into the distance, admitting that he has a couple of scripts ready, “It could be romance, or fantasy but with a strong dose of comedy in it. The rest you’ll know in due course of time,” he signs off.
Uppu Karuvadu releases next month.