The viewers on the streaming platforms had to wait longer to see the movie in the comfort of their homes as Por Thozhil hit a rich vein with the moviegoers at the box office.
Last Updated: 11.22 AM, Aug 13, 2023
Filmmaker Vignesh Raja is still amazed by the kind of reception that his debut movie Por Thozhil received from the audience worldwide. Its unexpected commercial success also created a lot of anticipation for its digital release. And the audience was in for a surprise when the filmmakers didn't make the movie available for streaming after four or five weeks of its theatrical run, which of late has sort of become an accepted practice for small and medium-budget movies.
The viewers on the streaming platforms had to wait longer to see the movie in the comfort of their homes as Por Thozhil hit a rich vein with the moviegoers at the box office. Not just in Tamil Nadu, the movie also found a lot of takers in neighbouring states, especially in Kerala.
"It feels surreal. When we started all we wanted to make was an honest film, true to its genre without trying to make it more commercial. But, I think the love that came the way of Por Thozhil is pleasantly surprising," Vignesh Raja told OTTplay.
It was director Gautham Menon's hit crime thriller Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu (2006) that introduced Vignesh to the serial killer genre. And the movie followed the investigation of a supercop Raghavan (Kamal Haasan), who races against time to prevent two supremely intelligent serial killers from claiming more victims.
"Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu was my first experience watching a serial killer film. After that, I have seen quite a few of its kind. But, I always wondered why we don't do a true-genre film without any distractions here and that was the starting point for me and Alfred (Prakash) to start writing this film," Vignesh recalled.
However, he knew that finding producers with an appetite for high-risk ventures was the key to bringing his thriller to life without making major artistic compromises. "It was a risky proposition on paper because it had no songs, fights or no romantic angles. Also, there is a cost attached to it because of the night shoots and locations. I think I lucked out finding the right kind of producers (Applause Entertainment, E4 Experiments, and Eprius Studio). We had very few discussions on the script. And, when we discussed it was not along the lines of how to commercialize the movie, but how to make it more true to the genre," he said. "The large part of the credit must go to the producers."
Vignesh's vision for the true-genre movie, however, was challenged by his composer Jakes Bejoy. He was so determined not to use the songs in the movie, he was not convinced when the composer Jakes Bejoy suggested including a song in the climax. "I thought it might become too preachy and true-genre fans will hate this film for that. I was worried about that heading into the release. But, to have the audiences come back a second, and third time and to have women and families come in, at least I did not see that happening. That was very, very gratifying for me," said Vignesh.
And he's thankful that he gave into Jakes' logic to "drive home the message" in the end.
Por Thozhil is a buddy cop drama, starring R. Sarathkumar and Ashok Selvan in the lead roles. And the movie follows the investigation against a faceless serial killer, who is targetting young women in Tamil Nadu. And Vignesh believes that the commercial success of Por Thozhil, which is devoid of many conventional popular elements, is a sign of evolving tastes of audiences everywhere. "Tamil audiences have always had an evolved taste in movies. But, the general film literacy of all audiences has grown during the pandemic," he added, suggesting the role the OTT platforms played in allowing people to access rich cinematic content from around the world.
Por Thozhil is now streaming on SonyLIV.