Thaana Serntha Kootam helped me reconnect with my roots: Suriya | Hindustan Times
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Thaana Serntha Kootam helped me reconnect with my roots: Suriya

In a chat with HT, Suriya opened up about Thaana Serntha Kootam and how working in the film helped him reconnect with his roots. It reminded him of the days when he earned his first salary of Rs 726.

regional movies Updated: Jan 08, 2018 09:30 IST
Haricharan Pudipeddi
Thaana Serntha Kootam is said to be a remake of Akshay Kumar’s Special 26.
Thaana Serntha Kootam is said to be a remake of Akshay Kumar’s Special 26.

It’s been a while since c worked with a relatively new and young filmmaker. This is why his maiden collaboration with two-film old Vignesh Shivn, best known for Poda Podi and Naanum Rowdydhaan, for forthcoming Pongal release Thaana Serntha Kootam is exciting for him as well his fans. Although dubbed as a remake of Akshay Kumar’s Special 26, Suriya is confident audiences will embrace and celebrate the film.

In a chat with Hindustan Times, he opened up about the film and how working in it helped him reconnect with his roots. “I have not done anything like Thaana Serntha Kootam in a long time. In every profession, as we grow and reach a point, we stop and ask ourselves should we continue treading on the same path or choose a different one. When Vignesh approached me with the story, I asked myself this question and I believe I chose a different track,” Suriya begins, as he heaps praise on Vignesh and his style of filmmaking.

“When I sat for narration with Vignesh, I felt I haven’t done anything fresh in a long time. It’s always been about playing these larger-than-life characters - be it Duraisingam in Singam franchise, Raju Bhai in Anjaan or Athreya in 24. A lot of people told me Vignesh has a different approach to direction. The way he writes a love scene is very different from how other directors would write. Vignesh is a drummer; he’s a lyricist, so I believe there’s something fresh about his touch. Even when it comes to delivering dialogues, I have a pattern and style which I have been following for a long time. Vignesh made me change the way I delivered dialogues and these changes would look fresh for audiences when they watch the film,” Suriya said, and added that Thaana Serntha Kootam is light-hearted and peppered with satire. “It felt nice to do something realistic but at the same time very entertaining for a change.”

Explaining how the film helped him reconnect with his roots, Suriya said: “I heard the story when I was shooting in Vizag for Singam 3. Once I returned to Chennai, Vignesh took me to a road side top and we had tea. I hadn’t done that in a long time. I meet people all the time in airports or at parties in hotels. But never did I have the luxury of walking on the road, stopping for tea and just observing people who come there. At the tea shop, Vignesh told me the journey of my character in the film starts from such a place. It reminded me of the days when I earned my first salary of Rs 726. It reminded me of the time when I travelled by bus to school and college. Working in this project helped me reconnect with my roots which I still haven’t forgotten.”

Suriya clarifies Thaana Serntha Kootam is not a frame-to-frame remake of the original. “Special 26 was based on the original incident. We’ve taken the same incident and have set it in a different place. Vignesh has treated it very differently. The film is a nostalgic throwback to the ‘80s. You’ll see traces of Kamal Haasan’s Sathya and Varumayin Niram Sigappu because the story touches upon unemployment in the ‘80s.” The film also stars Keerthy Suresh, Ramya Krishnan, Karthik and Senthil in pivotal roles. Suriya is thrilled to have shared screen space with yesteryear stars Karthik and Senthil. “I’m so lucky to have worked with Karthik sir. In Tamil cinema, even today he’s considered the king of romance. Most directors still use Mouna Ragam as a reference point when they have to make love stories. His command over acting is flawless. You find most actors rehearsing before a scene. You’d find Karthik sir sitting and relaxing in between shots. In front of the camera, he’s a different person altogether. He shot for a four and a half minute shot in a single take. How many actors can do that? I also had the privilege of working with Senthil sir. It was a different experience even for Vignesh, who is 10 years younger than me. To direct people who are way older than him and to give each one of them prominence in the story is no easy feat. Ramya Krishnan maam plays Anupam Kher’s role and I admire Vignesh for visualizing a woman in his role.”

Suriya, for the first time in his career, has dubbed in his voice for the Telugu version of the film which is titled Gang. Although he has briefly dubbed in Telugu for the dubbed version of Maattrraan, this is the first time he’s done it at length. “I thoroughly enjoyed dubbing in Telugu. Thanks to Shashank (writer and dubbing artist); I could complete the process in eight days. Even though audiences may find slight tinge of Tamil in my dubbing, I’m glad I took the effort. I’ll get better with each project.” Asked if there was any particular reason why he chose this project to dub, he said: “In most of my dubbed films, I’ve played characters that are aggressive and are required shout a lot. Be it Ghajini or the Singam franchise, there’s lot of aggression which my character had to express through words. Had I dubbed it in my voice, I may not have brought out the kind of intensity that’s required to play these roles. It was only possible if I knew the language. In Gang, as I already mentioned, even my dialogue delivery is very different. We tested the teaser with my voice and the positive response to it gave me the confidence to dub for the film.”

Soon after the release of Thaana Serntha Kootam, Suriya will begin work on the yet-untitled project with filmmaker Selvaraghavan. He has also confirmed he has a project with KV Anand next. “I’m excited about both these films. KV Anand project will begin from April,” he said, confirming that he is in talks with director Hari, with whom he delivered the Singam franchise. “Hari and I may not work immediately but there’s a project with him. I usually work with him once in two or three years. It definitely won’t be another Singam.” He confesses he likes to reunite with Hari once in a while as it helps him expand his market with out-and-out commercial films. “When we first thought of making 7 am Arivu, we seriously didn’t have the budget. Nobody wanted to bet on the project. Couple of months later, Singam released and went on to become a blockbuster. The success of the film gave me the license to do 7 am Arivu. I need a film like Singam once in a while to experiment with projects like 7 am Arivu and 24.”

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