Maamannan is set to be the next big social commentary from filmmaker Mari Selvaraj after his Pariyerum Perumal (2018) and Karnan (2021) went on to become super box office and critical successes, while also generating a big debate on various prevalent issues. Produced under the Red Giant Movies banner, the upcoming film starring Udhayanidhi Stalin, 'Vaigai Puyal' Vadivelu, Keerthy Suresh, and Fahadh Faasil, and featuring music by A. R. Rahman is opening this week in cinemas worldwide on June 29. With promotions underway, the Maamannan team recently sat down with National Award-winning film critic Baradwaj Rangan, the Editor-in-Chief of Galatta Plus, with Mari Selvaraj opening up about the films in his universe that revolve around social justice.
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From using animals in his films to the scenes of swords in Karnan and now in Maamannan, or the 'Vaa Rail Vida Polaama' song in Pariyerum Perumal and the 'Jigu Jigu Rail' song with the same innocence in Maamannan, Mari Selvaraj said that he's not planning to intentionally maintain connections in his work to create a universe. He said, "My universe is social justice. That's my universe. I'm clear about that. I really like metaphors. I talk about controversial politics. It will be shunned if it becomes a bit dramatic. I am put up with the challenge of converting it into an art form that cannot be ignored. If it cannot be changed into an art form, it becomes propaganda. So, metaphors are important to me. There's a social justice involving not just humans, but also the animals that they have domesticated. To me, domestic animals seem to help capture the form of social justice. Hence, I will always use them in my films." He continued, "If there's an MCU, it's about social justice. I have planned to talk about it in all my films. My world will include animals - dogs, pigs, donkeys, goats, and cows. People close to me know that they have seen me mostly herding livestock. When I'm in that world, I feel quite easy and cool and calm. I get inspired by looking at the eyes of a goat or a cow, or the touch of a dog, I become relaxed."
Speaking about the commonalities in his films like a dog in Pariyerum Perumal and a horse, a donkey, and fish in Karnan, Mari Selvaraj opened up on a similar aspect in Maamannan and said, "When you talk about the most downtrodden people... if I had to make an open statement about this film - it's a story about pigs. If a person begins to talk about a story about pigs, how will it be? You'll understand once you watch the film. So, when you consider an animal that is viewed as the foulest and cheap and change it into a metaphor, you need not work anymore. It blooms into its own world. And, the world that has bloomed is Maamannan."
Watch Mari Selvaraj along with Udhayanidhi Stalin, Vadivelu, and Keerthy Suresh in conversation with Baradwaj Rangan below: