Filmmaker Venkat Prabhu says it's challenging to work with a star like Suriya because he doesn't settle for anything mediocre and likes to push everybody around him towards excellence.
Venkat and Suriya have teamed for the first time in Tamil actioner Masss, which releases in cinemas on Friday.
"The reason why Masss has come out well is because of the extra push from Suriya. He doesn't settle for mediocrity and pushes himself and people around him to do much better. He certainly pushed me towards excellence," said Prabhu.
He admits that working with Suriya was 'challenging', but the effort was 'totally worth it'.
Talking about Masss, Prabhu said: "It isn't actually a horror comedy because typically in such films, the laughs are generated out of slapstick humour involving the comedians. We haven't followed such a pattern. I believe we've worked on something fresh and hope audiences will like it."
"We included a shot of Suriya as a vampire in the film's teaser to create some curiosity because now people have started to wonder what genre the film really belongs to."
Prabhu added that they aren't cashing in on the latest trend of successful horror comedies.
"When I started writing the script, which was in last January, hardly any horror comedies had released. It was only a few months later, a slew of films in this genre started coming out."
The film's title Masss has created quite a buzz among the audiences, especially the masses.
Prabhu believes titles still play a pivotal role in creating maximum pre-release buzz of a film.
"Title is very important for a film to even make audiences to take notice of it. A striking poster doesn't alone make heads turn; it also needs to be accompanied by an interesting title. When it comes to a star vehicle like Masss or even any film starring Ajith or Vijay, title is the first reason for fans to celebrate a movie's arrival," he said.
While selecting titles for his movies, Prabhu looks for recall value.
"I don't have any process per se to select titles. I believe in keeping everything simple. As I start working on a script, I usually stumble upon an interesting title. But I look for recall factor in any title that I choose for my films," he said.
"Ten years later, if we look back at a film, one should remember it by its title because not everybody can remember the story. All my films' titles have had great recall factor and luckily, people still remember them by their titles," he added.
His new film is also high on visual effects (VFX), and Prabhu says they have done justice to all the scenes featuring it.
"There are quite a few scenes with VFX, but we have used it in a way nobody would realise it. We aren't promising an awe-inspiring VFX experience. The whole purpose of using computer graphics in a movie is that audiences shouldn't know where exactly it has been used. We have a small fantasy element and we have done full justice to it with the help of VFX," he said.
Masss, which is produced by Studio Green, also features Nayantara, Pranitha Subhash, Samuthirakani and Parthiban in important roles.
Meanwhile Prabhu says the plan for the Hindi remake of his film Mankatha has not been shelved but he admits that he has no time to direct as of now. Incidentally Mankatha starring Ajith is one of the biggest hits of his career.
"I've had meetings with Saif Ali Khan and John Abraham but nothing has materialised. Mankatha was supposed to be remade, and its remake rights are with Studio Green. They're planning to make it with a big studio," said Prabhu. "But I don't think I'll be able to direct the remake because I've already signed my next Tamil project with Escape Artist Motion Pictures."
There are also reports that a sequel to Mankatha is in the offing. Without denying the news, Prabhu said it's too early to talk about it.
"Most of my films have open-ended climaxes. This allows me to work on their sequel if and when required. There are plans, but nothing has been finalised yet," he added.