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Director Sundar C Interview: Only Aranmanai 4 will decide the fate of the fifth instalment

Sundar C, whose Aranamanai 4 is set to hit theatres, opens up about the franchise, will he ever do a OTT project, attempts to breaking his own formula, and more

Director Sundar C Interview: Only Aranmanai 4 will decide the fate of the fifth instalment
Sundar C

Last Updated: 08.56 AM, May 01, 2024


Catching up with filmmaker Sundar C whose upcoming film Aranmanai 4 is eyeing release on May 3, was just more than limiting him to one film, especially when he has delivered a body of work that has defined cinema and entertainment for a set of generations, including me. So naturally, when his latest film is coming up, there is more to converse about his vision for cinema, his evolving style, and his perception of the latest trends. But starting off with Aranmanai 4, which is part of a horror comedy franchise created by the filmmaker, Sundar C has been certain that never would he cash on the franchise and make a film merely to be an add on.

About Aranmanai 4

“I did Aranmanai like any other movie. After its success, a lot of people began to ask more about it, especially kids. I was surprised and many asked for the next part when I myself did not have the idea of it. Then why don’t we is what I thought? But I did not want to cash on it and waited for good scripts and that is when the second and third parts happened. Aranmanai is quite a difficult process for me and there are some basic elements like horror, humour elements, divine intervention, multiple characters, and emotional arcs that have to be retained. But how many times can we use the same formula with different lines? So, after Aranmanai 3, I had a bit of stagnation and even had a script for Aranmanai 4.”

It was at this time the filmmaker had another script for another film too on hand and as he was oscillating between the two, a trip changed it all. “I was travelling to Bombay and two young girls asked when I would do Aranmanai 4. Taking it as a sign from upstairs and a solution for my oscillation, I took up Aranmanai 4. Even now I don’t know if Aranmanai 5 will come or not, only Aranmanai 4 will decide. I don’t plan anything and take life as it goes. I am happy as it comes,” he adds.


Aranmanai is a film franchise with each part also serving as a standalone film rather than being a continuous saga. When asked about this choice, Sundar C says, “I do think about it even now, but the difficulty is that we get stuck to artists and I am not a believer in the star value. First and foremost, priority goes for the script, because when doing commercial films, you have to engage the audience in two hours and encapsulate everything from emotions to entertainment. You need to make the audience engaged. So, I concentrate on the script rather than getting on the same artists and making it a continuation.”

The director also acknowledges how he is already caught in between the formulaic elements that encompass the Aranmanai franchise and is cautious that he doesn’t get caught between the characters too. “I have a session of complaints already that even now it is the same, and when I have the same characters, it might lead to monotony. Unless otherwise if I am doing a film with someone like Vijay and do multiple parts, the audience would be interested to watch and have more scope as a selling factor. Here I want to update with different artists with each part.”

The Sundar C formula

Even as Sundar C has earned a name as a commercial film director and built a brand for himself, there has been no less of exploration from his side. Be it pulling off a multi-starrer film like Suyamvaram (which has 14 directors including him), or doing a film Anbe Sivam, the director talks about the anomalies in his filmography, “All these happened. The first film I had planned for was a serious film and the artists committed were different. But when my first film (Murai Maman) found its hero in Jayaram, I wanted to make it in a lighter vein. Then, Ullathai Allitha was planned as a romantic musical and it changed to what it is now. I never planned the Sundar C formula and I want to break it when it happened. When I attempted to break it, it was not welcomed. Take Action where we did elaborate sequences or Coffee With Kadhal, where I wanted to make a realistic film, they were not received well. In fact, Action was received well in the north since the audience came with no expectations. They wanted entertainment. On one side, critics ask about the monotony, but on the other side is the theatre audience who give us bread and butter. When they come with certain expectations, and given there are a lot of people who depend on one film, I cannot risk it just for me.” The director also adds that even superstar actors cannot come outside their formula and afford to take risks, and instead stick to the commercial template.

Admitting that he never shows gory violence, vulgarity, double-meaning dialogues or voyeuristic filmmaking, Sundar C says that his films are entertainers that can be enjoyed with families. “I do films which I will enjoy and I also make the making process enjoyable. I don’t have strenuous shooting schedules either. Nowhere I change tired, but when I get certain lines, I try it. Perhaps if Coffee With Kadhal had worked out, I would have tried that genre,” he mentions.

Aranmanai 4 will be more intense and will be based on a folklore Baak, unlike its predecessors which were revenge-based stories. He says, “This one will be slightly different and I am quite happy with the CG works. It has been completely made by local technicians and I am totally against posing with foreign technicians. It has become a fashion nowadays, when we are perfectly capable of using our talent. Even with Aranmanai, with the available budget and timelines, they have done a great job.”

Audience and OTT space

Sundar C made his debut in 1995 and still going strong with the ability to catapult audiences with his name, to theatres. “That is something that even I have wondered but it could be my attitude towards like. I always see it as a glass half full and never see the negativity. I am not on social media also because I tend to get upset soon. I also like fun films and my favourite one is It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. In Tamil, I like Anbe Va, Bama Vijayam kind of films. They tend to make you feel happy and the movies I make are also like that, which can enjoy.”

The filmmaker, who makes films for big screens, acknowledges that audiences have become technically strong. “You can also become a director on your own if you can educate yourself. Everybody has good knowledge on the technical aspects and even nitpick errors. So, we have to be constantly updated and conscious that we never make even minute mistakes,” he adds. He also says that this helps the filmmakers to be on their toes.

When asked if he will ever venture into OTT space, he says, “Right now, back-to-back I am doing films but my production house which is headed by my wife, Khushboo, are looking into some projects. I am not sure as a director if I would venture, I don’t think so, to be frank, if they can afford me as a filmmaker. But I would love to explore because cinema has its restrictions due to certain elements that have to be retained like songs and action-comedy sequences. But in OTT, there are no such restrictions and we can also explore more.” Sundar C also mentions his dream project Sangamithra, which is showing good signs to be started. “The budgets have grown due to OTT development, and pan-Indian culture too makes it easier. Even technically everything seems to be going good and hopefully by the year-end we will start,” he signs off.

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