Director Ashwin Saravanan interview: The collaboration with Nayanthara was even more rewarding the second time around

Director Ashwin Saravanan, known for action-thrillers like Game Over and Maya, has reunited with Nayanthara for the horror-drama Connect. In a freestyle chat with Pinkvilla prior to the film’s release, Ashwin reveals that the idea for the story came from whatever experience he had during the lockdown. The director also talks about his concerns, being an outsider and working with Nayanthara again, but this time she is also a producer for Connect.

Excerpts from the interview:

Maya was your first film and Nayanthara’s first solo film. Was there pressure to set the same standard or were you confident she could carry an entire movie on her shoulders?

Usually, when I start a movie, I start with an idea without considering whether it will match my previous film work or land a certain star. I always follow my instinct and follow what I like about this particular idea but when you show it to an actor like Nayanthara, she immediately responded to the idea and we wanted to make the movie. We weren’t giving much thought to whether this was going to be bigger than my other films. We never discussed those things but focused on the material and what was interesting to us, and the story of the movie was very relevant to us at the time. A lot of the things in the movie are what we witnessed during the lockdown.

There is no pressure or safety net, every movie is new and fresh. Your responsibility is how to make the idea better and explore it. It’s a more creative challenge than logistics I think.

And your films have female heroines

I don’t consciously decide to make a movie about female stars, I just go with my idea and my story. The idea came from my experience during lockdown. I was very worried and scared about the future and there were times when I was desperate about the situation and all those feelings that I wanted to show in the movie. I’m terrified is the best kind for exploring these feelings.

Connect also has Anupam Kher and Sathyaraj

I feel fortunate to have such veterans in my film and we have enjoyed working with them. It came from the production where they thought the movie could accommodate the big stars and their vision for the movie was much bigger than mine. It was Vignesh Shivan who suggested going with a larger cast. He said let’s make the canvas of the film bigger and when I approached the senior actors I am very skeptical as they have done a lot of work and I was amazed at the number of films Anupam Kher has done. It was a very humble process.

I used to think that being an outsider would make it hard for me and every time, I would face a lot of insecurities and uncertainties in my career, but what I realized was…

Director Ashwin Saravanan

Your films contain female heroines and horror genres. Any concerns that they could be stereotyping you?

That definitely exists but the way I work, I don’t want to do things on purpose so I don’t want people to stereotype me. Each writer has a specific area of ​​interest. I think horror is something in my system and I always find it exciting and exciting, and there is an audience for that.

Is it hard being weird?

I used to think being an outsider would make it hard for me and every time, I would have a lot of insecurities and uncertainties in my career but what I’ve realized is, when you’re an outsider you don’t try to fit in and do your own thing. This eventually becomes your signature and strength in some way. There is no stake and you can take risks, there is nothing to lose. In the end, if you have good scripts, people will work for you no matter where you come from. I remember when I first met Nayanthara with Maya, it was during filming I asked her to start and she didn’t even ask me where you were from, or who I worked under. She listened to the story and she said that was a very good scenario that even if I didn’t do it, it would still work. I thought she wasn’t going to do the movie but luckily, she ended up doing it but she didn’t ask me any questions. At the end of the day, it all depends on merit and a good script. Most of the directors I know, Karthik Subraj, Balasubramanian are all from overseas and they did what they wanted to do. This is how the movement in the Tamil industry apparently began. We are in a great phase and everyone is watching movies.

This is your second movie with Nayanthara

Since she’s also a producer, her involvement actually made it easier to collaborate with her. She was very concerned about every aspect of the production, and there were some scenes she kept asking her for more, like can we do another take or a different way. I, as a director, was just glad I was getting the good stuff. There were times when she constantly pushed herself to do certain scenes better and her performance was moving this time not because of her growth as an actress but because of my understanding of how to get a performance out of an actor. When I worked in Maya, there wasn’t a lot of direction, at first. I didn’t have time to do more and sit with the actors. I finished the movie in 35 days, and with this movie, I really had time. Here, we sat down and worked on the scenes and tried to find the moments that would really stay with the audience. Cooperating with her was more beneficial the second time around.

Also read | Nayanthara’s Birthday: From her brief hiatus due to personal setbacks to becoming a star lady

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