Director Shakti Soundar Rajan says it was really brave of actor Jayam Ravi to work in his forthcoming thriller Miruthan, which happens to be Tamil cinema’s first zombie film, despite knowing how much risk was involved.
"It was an experiment that could’ve gone wrong and Ravi could’ve gone from a star with two back-to-back hits to butt of all jokes in the industry. It was a risky proposition, nevertheless he accepted the project with a lot of excitement," Rajan said.
All it took the Naaigal Jaakirathai director to convince Ravi was one meeting.
"He instantly agreed, though he requested two days time to officially come on board. My producer, Michael Rayappan, was equally gutsy, because rarely will you find someone willing to bet on a zombie film," he said.
Having already made two films in different genres, Rajan says he chose to work in the zombie genre because he loves to work within the limitations of a genre.
"I find that exciting and challenging. After my last film, which turned out to be hugely successful, I had the opportunity to make a film on a large canvas; something bigger than my previous films in terms of budget, too," he said.
Shining more light on the film, he said he’d like to view it as a sci-fi action film.
"Although there’s zombie angle in the story, I personally like to view this as a high-octane action film, which has appropriate amount of gore, acceptable by Tamil cinema standard," he said, and added shooting the climatic action sequence was very challenging.
The scene features nearly 500 junior artists as zombies.
"Logistically, shooting it was a nightmare. The 500 junior artists would start getting ready with make-up at 1 a.m. and they’d finally get done by 10 a.m.," he recalled.
A team of 40 worked in the make-up department, which didn’t feature a single foreign artist.
"I did not see the need to hire workforce from abroad, though we imported necessary material. Instead, we brought make-up artists who had worked on several Tamil period films," he said.
The film, which releases worldwide on February 12, is high on visual effects (VFX) and Rajan hopes most of it will be invisible for naked eye.
"There are about 1000 VFX shots and out of which audience may identify 10-15, while the rest will be too difficult to make out," he said.
Rajan also brushed aside rumours regarding the film being based on Warm Bodies among other Hollywood zombie films.
"I find such claims very silly," Rajan said, adding: "There are about 400-500 zombie films. In all of them, you will find similarities, like how the virus is born and how it turns people into zombies."
Ravi plays a traffic inspector in the film, which also features Lakshmi Menon.