If Kamal Haasan is helping revive the dance form Theyyam in Uttama Villain, forthcoming Tamil thriller Kallappadam will do the same for the native art form Koothu.
Director J Vadivel says Kallappadam, a story about how first-timers try and make a film, is a tribute to Koothu, which is almost forgotten.
"It's about the struggle of a bunch of friends who set out to make their first film. Through this story, we are highlighting the almost forgotten art form Koothu and our film is a tribute to it," said Vadivel.
"Since this is my first film, I wanted to do something different. I chose Koothu as the theme of my film because I strongly feel it has lost its prominence since the inception of cinema. We've tried to focus on the art form and it has been treated commercially," he said.
The tribute has been paid through a song and Vadivel feels it will strike a chord with the audience.
Vadivel plays himself in the film, while his cinematographer Santhosh, music composer K and editor Gaugin reprise their own roles.
"We decided to play our respective roles. To make the film they desire, these characters are forced to do something out of the sheer need," he said.
"A parallel story about the downfall of a successful actress also runs with the main story. Lakshmi Priyaa has played this role. To get back in the league, she's forced to do something bad. What happens when these two parallel running stories cross paths (forms the rest of the story)," he added.
Vadivel says although the actions of Lakshmi's character in the film may appear bad, but she isn't essaying a negative role.
"Lakshmi is forced to react to the situation she gets in the film," said Vadivel, and added that the story was inspired by events that happened around him.
"This is not about the struggle in the industry to make my first film. It's about how cinema has taken over other art forms like koothu. Villages that used to give preference to koothu performances now favour cinema numbers," he said.
Heaping praise on his team, Vadivel said everybody had multiple roles to play in the film.
"All the lead actors had multiple roles to play. Santhosh for instance had to ensure everything is captured perfectly behind the camera and then come before it to act. Gaugin would let us know where to edit a shot and K would tell us about the suitable score for a scene. All this would happen while shooting, mostly on the spot," he said.
He says the performances of the actors will be very realistic as nobody tried to act.
Kallappadam, which is produced by Anand Ponniraivan, will release in cinemas on Friday. It's being distributed by Vadivel's mentor filmmaker Mysskin.