What does Tamil director R. Kannan find most challenging in remakes? It’s casting, he says as he anxiously awaits the release of his upcoming Tamil comedy “Settai” — a remake of Hindi adult comedy “Delhi Belly”.
“This is not the first time when I have faced this situation. Even when I was remaking ‘Jab We Met’ in Tamil, I spent so much time zeroing in on the cast,” Kannan said.
“However, casting for ‘Settai’ was most challenging because initially all the actors were sceptical how would I remake the film for Tamil audience,” he added.
“When I met Arya to discuss the idea of the film, he was taken aback that how am I even going to remake the original without using any cuss word. And so did the female actors. But I sat them down and explained how family-friendly this film would be.”
So how did you convince the actors?
“Besides all the double-meaning dialogues and swearing in ‘Delhi Belly’, the film had a soul about friendship. I developed the story in Tamil on this aspect and roped in three actors who are also best friends in real life,” he said.
“I didn’t have to struggle much with the shooting part because all I had to do was make my actors translate their real friendship on screen,” he added.
The film stars Arya, Santhanam and Premgi Amaren in the lead roles, while Anjali, Hansika Motwani and Nasser are also part of the cast.
But “Settai” was not an easy remake.
“Besides casting, remaking an adult comedy for Tamil audience was a Herculean task. I spent close to 20 months working on the script because the core audiences here are youngsters and, therefore, the film had to be made in such a way that it draws them to the cinema halls.”
“We don’t have adult audiences per se to patronise adult comedies,” said Kannan, admitting he likes challenging remakes.
“I don’t like to be called a remake specialist. If I wish to work on a remake, then I choose a challenging project such as ‘Taare Zameen Par’. I would never give in to remaking a commercial film because it doesn’t excite me,” he said.
Shot predominantly in Mumbai, the film was completed in 70 days. S.S Thaman has composed the music for the film.
How do you manage expectations in a remake?
“Honestly, you can’t manage expectations because people walk in a predetermined state of mind. I feel remakes shouldn’t be compared but people tend to do so and we can’t do anything about it. All that one as a director can do is give his best and wait for the result,” he said.
Produced by UTV, “Settai” releases April 5.
Meanwhile, Kannan has started working on his next film’s script, which he says will not be a remake.