Filmmaker Thiagarajan Kumararaja made heads turn with his stellar directorial debut Aaranya Kaandam, which went on to bag two National Awards, including one for him (Best First Film of a Director). Although the film was celebrated as a cult classic a few years after its release, it didn’t do well commercially when it saw the light of day in 2011. Anurag Kashyap celebrated Aaranya Kaandam, and a few other filmmakers rapturously raved about the film and Kumararaja as a promising upcoming talent.
It’s been nearly eight years since Aaranya Kaandam took movie buffs by surprise in theaters. Kumararaja has now replicated the success with Super Deluxe, which features an all-star ensemble comprising Vijay Sethupathi, Samantha Akkineni, Fahadh Faasil, Mysskin and Ramya Krishnan in lead roles.
“After Aaranya Kaandam, I wrote a film. It turned out to be an expensive production. So, I kept it aside and penned another story, which again demanded a lavish budget. That’s when the idea of Super Deluxe originated. In fact, I had eight ideas in total and gave away one of the ideas to the indie film X: Past Is Present. The rest of the ideas are what make Super Deluxe,” said Kumararaja, adding that the long gap was not intentional at all.From the first look poster to the voice-over in the trailer, Vijay Sethupathi’s role in the film has already become a sensation among cinephiles. “I was supposed to produce my friend’s film, and I spoke to Vijay Sethupathi to listen to his script. He gave us an appointment. It was then he casually asked me what I was doing, and I told him my premise. I coolly asked him if he would play the transgender character, Shilpa. He asked me for two days’ time. But then, he immediately called me and gave his nod to the project, which took a completely different shape once he came aboard. Vijay Sethupathi changed the dynamics of Super Deluxe to a different league. That’s when we decided to approach stars for the other roles as well. Then, everything fell into place,” explained Kumararaja.
Super Deluxe has been jointly written by Kumararaja, Mysskin, Soodhu Kavvum fame Nalan Kumarasamy, and Neelan K Sekar. It’s a first of its kind effort in contemporary Tamil cinema. Talking about bringing all the writers under one roof, Kumararaja said, “To come up with the one-liner of Super Deluxe took me a week. I was also busy doing some commercials in between. So, I asked Nalan Kumarasamy and my friend Neelan K Sekar to write for me. And then, I requested Mysskin too. But, none of them had any clue about what the others were writing. It made the writing process very exciting. The entire collaborative effort was new and exciting for me too. I wrote the pending portion, and the story was completed. I was also a little hesitant and sceptical about reading their scripts before I gained the courage to open them and read. Once everyone submitted their parts, it took me five months to come up with the final draft.”
Asked about bringing Fahadh Faasil, who was last seen in Tamil in Sivakarthikeyan’s Velaikkaran, and Samantha on board, Kumararaja said, “Fahadh was supposed to act in my production for my friend’s film. He said he would come on board if I directed the movie. After Vijay Sethupathi gave his consent for Super Deluxe, I told the story to Fahadh Faasil. He immediately said ‘ok’. It was a little difficult to zero in on someone for Samantha’s part. Before she came on board, a few top heroines had rejected the role. Ramya Krishnan plays a porn star, and she was the first one we committed to for the movie.”
Although the film features a glittering cast, Kumararaja says he never compromised on the script to plug anything unnecessary. “It’s not needed at all. The characters are written to support the screenplay. It should not be otherwise. Super Deluxe is an original idea and a character-driven film. Everyone has played their parts well,” he said on a concluding note.