We greet Siva and Imman as they get down from their car on Monday afternoon. The duo is on a whirlwind promotional tour across the city and Siva is busy attending to calls and scheduling his promotion for his upcoming film Viswasam, his fourth collaboration with Ajith and Nayanthara playing the female lead.
He settles down, smiles at us and says, “We are all set to release on January 10. We are also happy with the number of screens we have acquired. People have been talking about the ‘competition’ ever since we announced the release dates. But Viswasam and Petta are not competing. They are just two big films releasing together, which is a healthy trend. I would also like to quote Ajith sir here, he keeps saying, ‘Just because we like someone, we don’t have to hate another person. Let us all be happy and celebrate every precious moment we have.’ So, yes, let us have a happy Pongal.” However, the film was originally planned to release for Deepavali, which was later postponed. “We had planned to begin the shoot in January and release it for Deepavali. But we started only on May 7. Ever since the film started rolling, our producer Thiyagarajan had decided that the film will release on January 10. Today, I have submitted all the paper work needed for release,” he says.
The film that is set in the rural backdrop has Ajith playing the character of Thookudurai. The teaser and posters had him in two different looks, which triggered speculation that the actor will be seen playing a double role in Viswasam. Siva clarifies, “He is not playing a double role. The story travels to different time periods. For this I wanted Ajith to sport two different looks. In the rural portions he will be seen wearing colourful shirts and a twirled moustache. In the portions that are shot in Mumbai, he will be seen in a grey-haired look, with a handlebar moustache and wearing a white shirt and a veshti throughout.”
Imman was on board for the project and had completed over 50 per cent of the music even before the project went on board. “That gave sufficient time to explore and improvise my composition for the film. Siva narrated the script to me for 150 minutes. Usually, Ajith sir’s films have a lot of mass elements in it. But the script of Viswasam is a notch above that. It has an emotional connect that will appeal to the family audience. This factor will set the film apart among other Ajith-Siva films. Siva gave me the liberty to explore and we were all like a family,” opens up Imman. Siva seconds him and says, “Everybody on the sets called Viswasam ‘our film’, which bolstered our energy levels. Moreover, we constantly got the audience feedback when we released the first look poster and the mood in the sets was so joyous and that uplifted our spirits.”
But what it means for a director to collaborate with a star like Ajith for the fourth consecutive time? Siva smiles, “When our first film Veeram happened, it was Ajith’s manager Suresh Chandra, who called me to inform that Ajith wants to do a film with me. Then when Ajith sir called me to say the same, I thought someone was playing a prank on me. But when I met him and narrated Veeram, he gave the nod. Likewise, he said he will do another film with me. That is how Vedalam happened. In between, he did Yennai Arindhaal and later when we came together for Vivegam, he said he would like to do another film with me which is Viswasam. He is the one who keeps initiating the projects. I had quite a few stories ready and tweaked it to cater to his mass appeal. I make films that I like to watch in theatres. But Viswasam will be the best in Ajith-Siva combo. It is not about the comfort factor. We both are compatible when it comes to work. Do you think the train fight in Veeram or the bike stunt in Vivegam could have happened if we were in a comfort zone? Also, this story has brought the best in actor Ajith. His performance will be spoken about.”
Imman adds, “This film is for Ajith haters too. They will also like his character of Thookudurai and will laud him.” On a concuding note, Siva and Imman say that the film will be a mass entertainer with emotional connect that will cater to the audience across sections.”