The team of Andhagan – the Tamil remake of the Bollywood blockbuster Andhadhun – was shooting in the city recently. The cast and crew were filming an intense interrogation sequence at a Puducherry police station set, erected at Royapettah. We got talking to actors Prashanth, Simran, Samuthirakani and Vanitha, and director Thiagarajan…
“Andhagan is a special movie because a lot of people have wanted to portray this role. I consider myself lucky to be a part of this project. If it’s a new story, there won’t be much expectations. But Andhadhun was a massive hit and Ayushmann Khurrana even won a National Award for his performance. So, there’s a lot of pressure. The character I play is a visually challenged pianist. So, I’m careful to neither overdo it nor underperform,” says Prashanth, and continues, “This is the sixth film that Simran and I are doing together. Every time we team up, there’s a lot of expectation for the project. Priya Anand is a fabulous actor and she has a bubbly role. Samuthirakani sir has a dynamic role, very different from what he has done before. Even KS Ravikumar sir, Urvashi and Yogi Babu have a lot to do. The beauty of the script is that every character is important. There’s a lot of creative collaboration on the set and that’s fun.”
Stepping into the shoes of Tabu for the film is the super talented Simran. She says, “It’s not easy to do remakes. But we have been experimenting a lot and I’m sure this one will be on par, if not better, than the Hindi version,” she says, adding, “In this film, I play the antagonist. I’ve done a negative character before in Paarthen Rasithen, but this is totally different. There’s a surprise element in my character and I’m sure the audience will enjoy the twist.”
Ace cinematographer Ravi Yadav is also part of the film. “The first call I made after taking over direction was to Ravi Yadav. He had done Chembaruthi and Kadhal Kavithai for Prashanth, and is a big name in Bollywood. When I told him about this film, he cancelled all his other work and came to Chennai with the latest cameras and lenses. This film will be very stylish,” Thiagarajan informs.
Director-actor Samuthirakani, who’s playing the antagonist, says, “I’ve seen the Hindi original and I loved the role. It’s a challenging character, and so, when Thiagarajan sir asked me, I said okay to it. We are going to stay true to the character.” Talking about prepping for the part, he says, “I’m just going by the script. But every day, before stepping out for shoot, I tell myself what kind of role I’m playing that day. If I am just an actor on the set, I surrender myself to the director and I try to become that character. That’s always worked.”
Vanitha will be playing Samuthirakani’s wife in the film. She says, “I saw Andhadhun only after I was approached for the role, and I wanted to do it for its amazing screenplay and brilliant characterisation. I feel honoured and privileged to be a part of this film. I know Thiagarajan uncle since a young age and now, it feels good to work with him as well. The entire team is very down-to-earth. I don’t want to be influenced by the actress who played the role in the Hindi original. I think any woman would react to situations the way she did, and I’m purely going to by my instincts.
Talking about putting together the cast and crew, director Thiagarajan says, “Prashanth is playing a piano artiste in the film. He’s completed fourth grade of piano from Trinity College, London, and this role will be a cakewalk for him. We have Simran playing Tabu’s role and Priya Anand stepping into Radhika Apte’s shoes. We’d cast Manav Vij from the original to play the antagonist, but we couldn’t start the movie for certain reasons. Then, I approached Samuthirakani, who loved the film. He was sweet enough to accommodate this film amidst his tight schedule. Vanitha is playing his wife. And then, Yogi Babu is playing the role of an auto driver. I signed him up 1.5 years ago, and he was such a gentleman to have waited this long. Urvashi, who has acted as my heroine and also in production, has an important role. So does KS Ravikumar; he was happy when he learnt I was directing the film. Poovayar has done a phenomenal job. The biggest advantage of the film is its sound cast and crew.”