A still from the film 'Velai Illa Pattadhaari'. Image Credit: Riaz Ahmed

What are the travails of an unemployed youth, especially one who is educated and job hunting?

Cinematographer-turned-director R. Velraj explores this in his upcoming Tamil film, Velai Illa Pattadhaari. Set in Chennai, this story features Dhanush in the lead role, playing an educated young man in search of work.

“This is a complete commercial film with every element that will delight viewers,” said Velraj, who has known Dhanush since Polladhavan, for which he handled the camera.

Paired opposite Dhanush is Amala Paul. Saranya and Samudrakani play Dhanush’s parents. Vivek lends humour. Amitash makes his debut as a villain.

Playing a cameo is Delhi girl Surabhi, last seen in Ivan Vera Mathiri. “I share screen space with Dhanush and Vivek most of the time,” said Surabhi. “It is a meaningful role and crucial to the story,” she added, not willing to reveal anything more.

Anirudh Ravichander has scored music.

For Velraj, it was a challenge handling two aspects of the film. “As a cinematographer, I could pack my bags at six in the evening, but as director of the film, I could not do that. I had to plan for the next day’s work,” recalled Velraj, who won the Filmfare Award for Best Cinematographer for Aadukalam, the Tamil film that brought national glory to Dhanush.

The trailer of Velai Illa Pattadhaari featuring Dhanush with his six pack abs has caught the attention of fans worldwide. “Within three days of its release, the film trailer reached a viewership of 1.5 million,” added Velraj, who entered the industry as an assistant to cinematographer Thiru.

An avid film watcher since school days, Velraj found his calling after a friend lent him his camera. His next project as cinematographer is the Karthi starrer, Komban.

Velai Illa Pattadhaari is Dhanush’s 25th film and produced under his home banner, Wunderbar Films. It releases in the UAE on July 17.