Going by the teaser, the film looks like a psychological thriller. “You could say that,” he smiles, and adds, “But you really can’t put this under one genre as the film has a little bit of everything. It is a film about a psychopath… what kind of a person he is and what does he do in his everyday life. There’s Bagheera Ramanujan and Bagheera Muralidharan… I can’t reveal if he’s playing a double role or multiple characters now. You should watch it.”
Adhik also reveals that he met a psychiatrist to delve deep into the character. “I love psycho thrillers/serial killer movies and wanted to do a film on the same. So, when I wrote this idea and developed into a script, I felt that I needed to see a psychiatrist to get some insights. Before finalising the script, I met well-known psychiatrist Vasuki ma’am. She was very helpful and offered some suggestions, which helped me perfect the role,” says the director.
But with many people commenting that it has a Sigappu Rojakkal-feel, Adhik says that his film has been approached differently. He says, “See, a psychopath film has a certain grammar. We’re over and above 100 years in Indian cinema and one really can’t do something completely different as most genres have been dealt with before. Sigappu Rojakkal is a classic and a first in Tamil cinema. Since there were very few films in that genre, people are comparing both these films. While the genre is the same, the way I’ve approached this film is different.”
The film also has as many as six heroines — Amyra Dastur, Ramya Nambessan, Janani Iyer, Gayathrie Shankar, Sanchita Shetty and Sakshi Aggarwal. What made him choose so many actresses for the film? “I always believe that a person can’t just have one episode of love in their life. In fact, that was the premise for my debut as well. When a guy is a little wacky, girls will be curious about him. Bagheera is one such character and that’s why we have so many heroines. Amyra plays the main lead, though, as a psychiatrist. And there are others, each of whom, have an important part to contribute to the story. They were my first choices and I chose them for a reason. I am so glad that they all agreed to come on board for the film,” he says.
The filmmaker also says that with this film, he’s trying to break away from a certain image. “TIN made a lot of profit and had a big reach, but the reviews were harsh. It branded me as an adult film director. But if you’ve seen both my films, there is no visual vulgarity and there won’t be one in the future, too. Yes, my dialogues are pretty direct, but that’s how new-age films are. With my second film, I wanted to move away from being known in a certain manner, and did an action film. But that made things pretty difficult for me. So yes, it was a conscious effort to move away from being stereotyped. In cinema, you need to prove yourself in every single film otherwise they’d write you off,” says Adhik.
The director added that to rise again from negativity was a real challenge. He says, “After AAA’s debacle, it was a difficult phase. I underwent a lot of mental stress after the film’s failure. I didn’t understand why my debut film became a hit, and didn’t realise why this film was failing. My parents and brother helped me come out of it. There were so many people with me after my debut, but they were all gone after my second film. I realised that one Friday can change things drastically in one’s life. And of course, I had 3-4 of my friends who also helped me to come out of it. My friend Arjun motivated me to go to the gym. I was abusing my body and hitting the gym felt right. GV, too, called me up and encouraged me. In fact, he suggested we’d do a movie again and that’s how KTNN happened,” says Adhik.
With STR, too, coming out of a phase, what’s his dynamics with him now? “After AAA, we used to talk on and off. I am very happy for him as he has some exciting line-up now,” he says.
Adhik also reveals that once Bagheera hits the screens, he will resume the shoot for KTNN. “Since it will be a fantasy love film, there is a lot of CG work involved. We have only 30-40% of the shoot remaining,” says Adhik. On his next, he says, “I want to do an intense romantic film… something on the lines of Moondram Pirai. In fact, I had a script ready and wanted it to be my debut. But producers weren’t too keen… imagine if I had done that… I would be known ‘differently’ now (laughs). I still have plans to make that film. That apart, I definitely want to explore more genres. So, let’s see.”