Director Balaji Mohan has been known for his slightly offbeat and quirky sensibilities in films, clearly influenced by his exposure to international cinema. Which is why when he decided to go commercial, he wanted it in a certain way and thought Dhanush would fit the bill.
The director has always liked Dhanush as an actor and the manner in which he has projected him in the forthcoming Tamil entertainer Maari, is exactly the way he has always wanted to see him.
"I've been his (Dhanush's) fan right from his first film. I've always liked him as an actor as well as a star. The way he can carry himself in the offbeat as well commercial space is amazing. I've really liked him in his commercial avatars and I wanted to see him in a certain way. Maari, in a way, is a fulfillment of the way I want to see Dhanush onscreen," said Balaji.
Known for his quirky, partly offbeat films such as Kadhalil Sodhappuvathu Yeppadi and Vaayai Moodi Pesavum, Balaji is taking a plunge into the commercial stream with the film."When you see the trailer of Maari, you get a clear idea of how the film is going to be. And that's the kind of film I've always wanted to do. It's a conscious decision to go fully commercial with Maari and break the perception audiences have created about me. It's not something that happened by accident," he said.
Watch: Maari trailer here:
Quizzed if he found making a commercial film with a star challenging, Balaji said: "It's difficult when you're sensibilities are not in that space. My first two films belong to the space I created for myself after I started watching lot of international cinema and developed that taste."
"The sensibility on which Maari has been made has always been there inside me. I never felt like traversing into an unknown territory with the film. I felt quite at home working on it," he added.
In the film, Dhanush is said to be playing a local hooligan, who goes with the catchphrase: Will finish you off. It features the Raanjhanaa star mostly in a dhoti-clad, cigarette-smoking and twirled-moustache avatar.
Balaji said he wrote the film exclusively for Dhanush, and wouldn't have made the film had he not agreed to be part of it.
He also clarified that Maari is much different from Dhanush's blockbuster Vella Illa Pattathari, even though they fall in the commercial bracket.
Working with Dhanush was memorable for Balaji, who admires the freshness that the former brings to his performance in every film.
"He's a very spontaneous actor and at the same time he thinks a lot. It's a combination I've very rarely seen in actors," Balaji said.
"He is always preparing on sets, but it isn't evident to the people around him. It just feels like he comes and performs without any preparation. But I know he's always thinking about his role, preparing, and that's why all his performances are always fresh," he said, and added that Dhanush never wanted to be treated like a star.
The film, which releases in cinemas on Friday, also starts Kajal Aggarwal as Dhanush's love interest.