Udhayanidhi Stalin will be signing off from acting with Maamannan directed by Mari Selvaraj, which is set for a grand opening in theatres worldwide on June 29. The upcoming film also stars comedy legend 'Vaigai Puyal' Vadivelu, National Award winners Keerthy Suresh and Fahadh Faasil, and will feature music by Academy Award-winning composer A. R. Rahman. With less than a week left for Maamannan's release, Udhayanidhi Stalin along with Vadivelu, Mari Selvaraj, and Keerthy Suresh sat down with National Award-winning film critic Baradwaj Rangan, the Editor-in-Chief of Galatta Plus, to talk about why he wanted to do the film.
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Speaking about his interest to collaborate with Mari Selvaraj, Udhayanidhi Stalin said, "I watched Pariyerum Perumal and we spoke for a long time. During our conversation, I asked him if we can do a film. But, he said he had a lot of other commitments. Again, after watching Karnan, we were talking for a long time. I kept insisting that we do a film. It was at this time that I made a decision about my last cinema outing and how I wanted it to be a hard-hitting film. I like his style of filmmaking. I like the message he conveys in his films. I liked each and every shot in Karnan. I had also tweeted at the time about how a director was able to make other creatures act. Be it a horse or a donkey and even a fish, he made them act. I was firm that I should do a film with a director like him."
Regarding why he wanted Mari Selvaraj to be the director of his last film, Udhayanidhi said, "I told him that I'm going to do my last film and I want you to direct it. But, he narrated the story of this film (Maamannan) believing I would not accept it. Initially, I was terrified whether the audience will accept me if I did this role. Later, I decided to take a leap of faith and told him that I believed in him, his cinema, and his political knowledge. After that, when the others started coming onboard the film, its canvas became bigger. Vadivelu sir was needed for that pivotal character. Fahadh then came in, followed by Keerthy and then A. R. Rahman sir joined the film."
Udhayanidhi continued, "I used to go and ask him (Mari Selvaraj) after we shot every scene what he was trying to convey. There was no dialogue paper. He would explain only after we went to the shooting. During that time, the assistant director would sit down and write, and it would be made as a scene. He will ask us to perform and he'll push it to scrap if he doesn't like what's been done. He'll then give suggestions on doing something else next. It was very challenging to work in his way of filmmaking. If I asked him whether I can say a specific dialogue in a certain manner, he would tell me that it would end up conveying a different meaning. As a writer, he has that understanding. I didn't do this film for political mileage, but I rather wished to be a part of his film world. Or else, I would have told him to change some scenes and there are options for those alterations in the story too, but, I didn't interrupt him anywhere. We asked him to be true to the story and told him that we'll stand beside him."
Watch Udhayanidhi Stalin and the Maamannan team in conversation with Baradwaj Rangan in the video below: