“Tharangam is a fun entertainer with a tinge of fantasy”: A casual chat with director Dominic Arun
An industry will flourish only when youngsters enter the scene. They bring with them innovative ideas and fresh concepts that have not been explored much. Currently, Malayalam cinema is in a tremendous phase courtesy the arrival of a bunch of passionate youngsters. These newcomers are changing the conventional concepts of commercial cinema.
This coming Friday another debutant director, Dominic Arun is announcing his arrival with his maiden venture ‘Tharangam’. The movie starring Tovino Thomas, newbie Santhy Balachandran, Balu Varghese etc. is being funded by actor Dhanush’s Wunderbar Films. The director has co-written the movie along with Anil Narayanan.
Recently, I had a casual chat with Dominic Arun in the midst of his busy schedule. He is caught up with the final patch up works of his debut movie. Despite that we had a productive conversation where he divulged more about Tharangam.
From a director’s point of view, what is Tharangam?
Tharangam is a crime-comedy. It is the story of two policemen – Padmanabhan and Joy – who get suspended from the force. The movie has several other characters who are connected these two protagonists. It is a full on fun entertainer with a lot of interesting elements.
You have helmed a couple of short films before making your first feature film. How did the transition from short films happen?
I’m very fortunate as a filmmaker as my journey was quite simple. After the release of my short films, I got an opportunity to assist in a couple of films – Seconds and Money Ratnam. I learnt a lot while assisting and it was a tremendous experience. I got to know the vibe of a shooting spot and the process happening behind the camera, only while working in these films. The experience gained from there has helped me a lot during the making of Tharangam.
How did such a big banner like Wunderbar Films come into the picture? How did you approach them?
We first narrated the script to Tovino and he liked it. We didn’t have a producer then, so he introduced us to Sukumar Thekkepat, our executive producer. He also liked the script and came on board. We then started the ‘producer hunt’. One day, Suku etan called and said that Wunderbar Films is planning to make movies in Malayalam. So we approached them and luckily they agreed to produce our movie.
The involvement of a banner like Wunderbar Films has enhanced the expectations for Tharangam. This is their first film in Malayalam which further adds to the hype. How do you see that?
Wunderbar Films, as we all know is a big brand. They have a track record of funding some quality films (Kaaka Muttai, Visaranai, Power Paandi etc). Naturally, when they are making an entry to Mollywood with Tharangam, expectations are on the higher side. It’s truly a blessing that they are associated with our movie.
Tovino Thomas is now one of the most bankable actors in the industry and has been bagging several biggies. How do you rate him as an actor?
My friendship with Tovino goes way back to my assistant days. We have been in touch for a long time now. When I pitched the idea of Tharangam he liked it and immediately committed for it. He is a wonderful actor and has given his best for our movie.
The cast & crew of Tharangam comprises mostly of youngsters? Was it a conscious decision to work with freshers after being inspired by films like Angamaly Diaries?
Yes, it was a conscious decision to work with a rookie team, but it was not an inspired one. Most of us are together from our early short film days. The cameraman, music director, editor are all freshers. We knew each other well, so it was a very comfortable team to work with. In the casting side also there are about 30 new artists. We didn’t want stereotypical actors, as the unpredictable nature of the movie will be lost. So we purposely opted for newcomers and it turned out to be a great experience working with them.
Tharangam had a very peculiar teaser, one with no visuals but audio. The vocals suggests of a fantasy film. Is there a fantasy element in the movie?
Yes, there is a tinge of fantasy here which is treated in a very unique way. About the teaser, even while scripting, we had a clear idea that it should be this way. The vocals we have used in the teaser are very much connected to the movie and you will know that when you watch it from theatres.
Towards the end of the teaser, there is this stylish entry of an actor, probably a guest appearance. Names like Nivin Pauly, Dhanush, Riyaz Khan etc have been doing the rounds in social medias. Shall we break the ice here?
Tovino will be clearing the airs regarding that in a couple of days time. He will be revealing the names of all those who are not playing that particular role (laughs). We didn’t use that shot intentionally in the teaser. It just happened that way and the viewers interpreted it differently, which is actually a blessing in disguise.
Finally, what can the audience expect from Tharangam?
Tharangam will be a fun entertainer right from the word go till the very end. It has a fanatsy element and there will be a lot of chaos like in Priyadarshan sir’s films. While growing up I was influenced by filmmakers like Priyadarshan and Siddique-Lal. The climax of Tharangam will remind you of yesteryear classics like Ramji Rao Speaking and Mazha Peyunnu Maddalam Kottunnu. We have tried to merge that into today’s cinema and the audience’s sensibilities. Tharangam will be a completely entertaining watch and I assure a lot of fun for the audience visiting theatres.
It was great fun talking with Dominic Arun, who is all excited about the release of his first film. We, at Onlookers Media, wish him and the entire team of Tharangam all success.