May 28, 2009
Vikram is Mallanna and Mallanna is Robinhood. This trilingual is not a period film but a contemporary colourful costume drama, a swashbuckler and a romantically-tinged adventure. It has atleast 30 to 35 scenes that are not present in any Indian film vouches Susi Ganesan, an engineering grad turned journalist turned writer and director of Mallanna. After Bheema, Vikram approached Susi for a story and the latter narrated around eight anecdotes, the actor immediately zeroed in on Mallanna and gave his commitment for the adventure film. A Maniratnam protégé he directed Virumbukiren, Five Star, Thiruttu Payale and now Kanthasamy is titled Mallanna in Telugu.
The director lived in Madurai for 18 years and gave up his job as a reporter in Vikatan to make movies. He often derives inspiration for his stories from newspapers, was peeved at the idea of the widening economic disparity between the rich and the poor and wanted to find a solution. He says, "There is no point complaining to the government, as the system will not change overnight. People have been listening to the Ramayana and Mahabharata for ages but siblings continue to fight, there is violence, sorrow always. They choose what they want from it, so I'm not into overtly preaching morals through Mallanna, I'm just passing a message." This message won't be for over 10 or 15 minutes, will be subtle and will not have Vikram screaming his guts out.
All Robinhood stories have the hero robbing the rich and helping the poor, there is no solution, here the film makers have not only provided a solution, they have put it in practice even before the film has released. The producer had adopted two villages Sangampatti and Gandhipuram and are doing the same in Andhra too. Each one adopting a street or a village, helping them in cash or kind will not only comfort them but will bring a drastic change in the thinking too and remind our responsibility of giving back to the society. The production house was flooded with letters from people requesting the filmmaker to adopt their villages.
Vikram differs with the explanation. He says the presentation is going to be very different and just to make it sound better they are calling it a Robinhood film, it's not that he comes as a super hero. The director has a deep underlying message, he showcased it an extravagant venture, in a particular fashion.
What is appealing about Mallanna? He says, "It's just another feather in my cap. As a kid I did a lot of plays and I got the best roles on a platter. I hated Julius Ceaser, it was so boring I would ask for Brutus. I like to sculpt my body and look like someone else".
For the actor films is like a game of chess, he enjoys making all the right moves, doing the unexpected. He picked Mallanna because he wanted for a long time work in something big. He wouldn't term any film as the best because he'd given his 100% commitment to all of them. He adds that doing characters that doesn't exist and giving them certain amount of credibility gives him a high. Also he isn't averse to doing the regular pot boilers, having the best of both has been his priority ever since his salad days in film industry.
After Mallanna, Vikram is working with Selva Raghavan. It's a three character film set in a weird house in Ireland. Then he is playing Ravan (Mani Ratnam film) in Telugu and Tamil and is also doing the opposite role of Ram in the Hindi version of Ravan. Vikram leads a normal life when he is not shooting. He says, "My phone is on silent mode when I'm at work..when I'm at home none can reach me, my phone will be with my manager. Otherwise I'm into a very regular life style. I do my walking, jogging on the street, I go to the video parlour, shopping, I don't lose out on life. I've started singing, I'm want to direct sometime, and I'm getting into production too – I might be on the creative side."