Actor Laguparan turns director with this film

Laguparan has an interesting career trajectory. He started out as an assistant director, made his acting debut in Raatinam (a 2012 romantic drama), has shared screen space with Charlotte Gainsbourg in a French film, Son épouse (2014), and went back to assisting filmmakers (Kamal Haasan’s Thoonga Vanam). Then came this year’s thriller, Sathru, where he played the antagonist to Kathir’s upstart cop.

But Laguparan is shifting gears again. At 29, he is making his debut as director with an anthology film. Currently being shot in Kodaikanal, it also stars Kalaiyarasan, Abhirami Venkatachalam, and a “big artiste” about whom Laguparan remains tight-lipped for now. Excerpts from an interview:

Your directorial debut is yet to be named…

It is an anthology with five stories that discuss the various ironies in life. Each story is written in a different genre. One is a silent film. There is also a period subject, and the other stories fall under the categories of thriller and magical realism. I also play the lead in one of the films.

Actor Laguparan turns director with this film

How did the film come about?

I was inspired to do an anthology by a Spanish language film, Wild Tales (Argentinian: Relatos salvajes), which I caught at a film festival. Initially, the plan was to do an independent film with a group of friends. But when I approached actors in my circle, they were kicked about the subject, and I got the confidence to attempt it on a bigger scale.

But there are few takers for such concept films in Tamil.

There is no business for others in the Tamil industry, except the top 10 artistes. The people who are doing this film with me are essentially taking a gamble. It is a bet that they hope, and I hope, will pay off.

Did you write all five stories?

I wrote the script for three, and two are short stories we purchased from other writers.

Where do you draw inspiration for your writing?

From the interesting people and incidents I come across during my travels. I write down the day’s events in a diary, or record voice notes. At night, I go through my diary and write the first draft.

Actor Laguparan turns director with this film

A lesson the industry has taught you?

That there are things beyond my control. Despite my efforts, a few of my films have stalled because of other people’s errors. It has been a big learning experience, though I do get upset. This is why I’ve ensured that I only brought people I trust on board for my directorial.

Why do you suppose it is a struggle for you to attract good roles?

I’m an introvert. I didn’t know that things don’t happen if I don’t ask people for it. A few years ago, I worked on my six-pack abs, and did a photo shoot to send to directors. But I didn’t know how to pass it on, or via whom. So I ended up sharing these on Instagram and Facebook! But now I am consciously looking for roles.

Experience of working in a French film set…

The shoot for Son épouse was scheduled for November, but I received a call sheet six months ahead, which had all the minutest details, like what sort of weather to expect on the proposed day of the shoot. Another thing I learnt was that they expect actors to improvise on a scene 10-15 times, even if the previous take came out well.


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