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Exclusive! Pulling off a horror comedy is no joke: Hostel director Sumanth

Sumanth Radhakrishnan speaks about Hostel, which was met with mixed reviews, last Friday

  • S Subhakeerthana

Last Updated: 01.37 AM, May 02, 2022

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Exclusive! Pulling off a horror comedy is no joke: Hostel director Sumanth
A still from Hostel

Sumanth Radhakrishnan does not know why he exactly wanted to make films, but that's what he's passionate about. In 2009, he realised it was worth the risk. So, he went on to assist Subramaniyan Siva (of Thiruda Thirudi and Seedan fame) for quite some time. "Jurassic Park changed it all for me. I liked how films took me to a parallel world. As a filmmaker, it feels liberating to tell different kinds of stories. That aspect of storytelling has always fascinated me, and here I am," he says.

In 2016, Sumanth came up with Sathuram 2, a crowd-funded venture, which he thought would be a different experience for the audience. "I tried to break stereotypes, but it quite didn't work. Then, I didn't understand how the business of filmmaking worked. After Sathuram 2, I collaborated with All In Pictures (that bankrolled Jiiva's Gorilla.) We could complete only 85% of the film. It was entirely shot in Pichavaram. After Covid, the entire area was shut. Meanwhile, I got committed to Ashok Selvan's Hostel," tells Sumanth.

An adventure thriller touted to feature India's first deep-sea stunt sequences, the film (tentatively titled, Sugar) had Simran, Trisha and Jagapathy Babu, in pivotal roles. "In fact, a crocodile plays an important role in it. I'm looking forward to finishing the film soon. The story is a first-of-its kind attempt and the actors were to undergo intense marine training before we kick start the shooting," Sumanth adds.

Speaking about Hostel, the Tamil remake of the Malayalam film, Adi Kapyare Kootamani, Sumanth explains how he wanted to make a family-friendly horror comedy. “When Ravindran sir approached me with the offer to direct this one, I sensed a lot of potential in it. The story is set in the backdrop of a boys' hostel. I changed 50% of the script, according to the sensibilities of the Tamil audience. 80% of the film was shot in the Aachi house. Pulling off a horror comedy is no joke. Usually, when you have a host of comedians, they tend to interfere in their dialogues, but here, everyone adhered to the script. There were zero egos. From Nasser sir, Ashok Selvan, Sathish, Priya Bhavani Shankar to Aranthangi Nisha, everyone was extremely understanding and cooperative on the sets.”

Though Sumanth had shot Hostel during the Pandemic, sticking to Covid-19 guidelines, he didn't want his characters to discuss Coronavirus in the film. "Of course, the idea of adapting ourselves to the 'new normal' wasn't easy. We took extra effort to make sure everyone was vaccinated, and also wore a mask. But as a team, we decided to steer clear of Covid, on the frame. We thought it was better that way. We wanted the audience to enjoy our film, without thinking about every single thing that bothers them in reality,” he concludes.

Sumanth, who wants to work with the likes of Vijay and Ajith, has a survival thriller in the pipeline.

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