190327 Vijay Sethupathi
Vijay Sethupathi Image Credit: Supplied

Director and screenwriter Thiagarajan Kumararaja may be only a film old, but that one film ‘Aaranya Kaandam’ brought home two Indian National Awards in 2011 — best debutant director and best editing — and established him as a director to be reckoned with.

‘Aaranya Kaandam’ — a neo-noir cult film — can be watched on any day and be marvelled at for its variety of characters, gripping screenplay and a climax that leaves you stunned and laughing.

After eight years, Kumararaja returns with his sophomore effort, ‘Super Deluxe.’ From the word go ‘Super Deluxe’ has not let film lovers rest in peace. While the poster introduced us to an array of star performers — Vijay Sethupathi, Samantha, Fahad Faasil, Mysskin and Ramya Krishnan — the trailer made every film buff scratch their head, and maybe even tear out their hair. Here are five things you should know about ‘Super Deluxe.’

1. Prior to ‘Super Deluxe’ Kumararaja worked as a script consultant for Gautham Menon’s ‘Yennai Arindhaal.’ Then he was a script writer for a segment of ‘X-Past is Present’, a film with 11 directors. His last work was as a lyricist of the song ‘Ayya’ from Tamil film ‘Seethakaathi.’ Now he turns producer for ‘Super Deluxe’ under his banner Tyler Durden and Kino Fist.

2. Versatile actor Sethupathi continues with his experiments as he plays a transwoman named Shilpa in the movie. In the trailer, Sethupathi narrates in a unique and frenetic way the story of a man who is caught between a tiger and a python, keeping the excitement level high. Also seen in the clip is his character Shilpa wearing a floral sari and red blouse, with dark kajal lining her eyes. Simultaneously, Kumararaja offers a glance into the lives of his main characters played by Samantha, Fahad Faasil, Mysskin, Ramya Krishnan and three teenaged boys.

3. Three writer-directors — Nalan Kumarasamy, Mysskin and Neelan K Sekar — worked on the script along with Kumararaja.

Kumarasamy, known for his two films ‘Soodhu Kavvum’ and ‘Kadhalum Kadandhu Pogum’, said that Kumararaja gave them a skeleton of the story with its characters, their arcs and how it ends. He gave each of them a portion to write.

“I think the portion given to me was based on my strength and my writing style,” said Kumarasamy. “It was not a collaborative experience as such because the four of us did not sit and brain storm ideas, but each one of us discussed separately with Kumararaja. It was like an actor collaborating with a director. Probably to avoid being influenced by each other’s ideas, he did not allow a combined meeting together.

Most of Kumarasamy’s writing was retained by Kumararaja.

4. Mysskin has a role in the film and has also composed the tune for a song. He plays Arputham and stars alongside Ramya Krishnan’s character.

“Arputham is a strong believer who does not give up on his faith,” said Mysskin. “Having seen this character in life I found it easy to enact him.”

Kumararaja being a perfectionist made Mysskin go through 80 takes for his role and that involved being slapped 80 times. Other actors have also talked about the many retakes they had to do until the director was satisfied.

Mysskin’s contribution as composer happened when Kumararaja happened to hear him humming on the sets. Impressed with the tune, he asked Mysskin to hum it again. It was used for a song in the film.

5. Malayalam actor Fahad Fasil is paired opposite Samantha in his second Tamil film. Krishnan plays an important role. The supporting cast includes Gayathri and Bhagavati Perumal.

‘Super Deluxe’ releases in the UAE on March 28.