Mention the names of Tamil films like Myna, Kumki and Kayal, and coming to mind immediately is a poignant love story set against a magnificent backdrop. Director Prabhu Solomon promises the same again with the trailers of his upcoming film Thodari. An intriguing story seems to lie ahead, with a train playing the central character.
Solomon who has been known to work with new faces in his earlier films, breaks the pattern this time by casting Dhanush in the lead.
Solomon has proved with his earlier films that our backyard is a treasure of unexplored beautiful places and one does not really have to go abroad for exotic locations. Solomon’s signature is evident in the trailers showing spectacular visuals of Dhanush and Keerthi Suresh romancing on the roof of a train, as it glides through a cloud of mist and green ravines. Thodari probably reinforces that.
tabloid! caught up with Solomon.
What is Thodari about?
It’s a love story that happens on a train journey. Dhanush plays Poochiappan, a pantry car vendor. He is paired opposite Keerthi Suresh. I would call it a wholesome entertainer with action and comedy built into the story.
Why did you place your story on a train?
Poochiappan has been with me for a long time. This story grew on one of my train journeys to Delhi in 1991. I used to work in Ghaziabad as a supervisor of a thermal power station then and it took two days to reach Delhi from the south.
A train comprises a moving society with people embarking and alighting at their respective destinations. Every frame is a scene of bustling activity. I like observing people and I am in the habit of writing in my diary.
What caught my attention was the constant stream of vendors from the pantry car. I found them fascinating. I observed their interactions with people. Despite their mundane work, they carried a passion towards their work. They were a busy lot who seemed to be live for each day. Every character was an interesting revelation on people and their behavior. To play Poochiappan, I needed an accomplished actor. Dhanush fit the bill.
How did Dhanush prepare for the role?
I had recorded a couple of videos of pantry boys. He studied them to understand their body language, their manner of talking and their attitude. Dhanush despite suffering from vertigo took on the challenge of performing scenes on the train’s roof when it was in motion. Not only did he dance and romance Keerthi Suresh, he also had action sequences staged on the roof. He is a dedicated actor.
What about filming on a moving train?
Every day’s shooting was a challenge. We shot over 35 days on a moving train. The challenge lay in capturing its entire length of twelve bogies, in one frame. Sometimes we had to get the signals inside the frame too.
We shot in Cuddalore, along the Orissa border and then a portion en route from Goa to Hubli.
Tell us about Keerthi’s role
She plays a make-up artist of an actress, who is travelling on the train. Telugu actress Pooja Jhaveri plays the star. I was amazed at Keerthi, who did not hesitate to do a couple of risky shots. There is a scene where she has to get close to the engine and it can be very hot. She did it without any fuss.
Thodari is produced by Sathya Jyothi Films, the banner known for films such as Moondram Pirai and Idhayam. Thodari is their 130th film.
D.Imman has composed music. Vetrivel Mahendran is the cinematographer.
With an ensemble of stars including Ganesh Venkataraman, Radha Ravi, Thambi Ramiah, Karunakaran and Harish Uthaman in the supporting cast, Thodari is one train you dont want to miss. The Telugu version is titled Rail.