Home » Chimbu Deven on directing Sridevi in ​​her latest Tamil film: ‘She had a lot of humility’

Chimbu Deven on directing Sridevi in ​​her latest Tamil film: ‘She had a lot of humility’

by Stewart Cole

One can only wonder what would have happened if Vijay’s Puli (2015) had lived up to all the expectations he had set for himself seven years ago. Apart from encouraging the Tamil star to pursue more such experimental films, it would also do another favor to Tamil film lovers – reviving Sridevi’s old effort with Kodambakkam. Puli was Sridevi’s first full-length Tamil film in nearly three decades. After portraying a range of roles in Tamil, the 16 Vayathinils actress bid farewell to Tamil cinema and shifted her focus to Bollywood. However, as the cliche saying goes, something is better than nothing. The iconic actor left Tamil audiences with Puli’s Yavana Rani (an evil queen and witch) as a parting gift.

One has to partially thank director Chimbu Deven for bringing her back to Tamil cinema. In a brief chat with indianexpress.com, Deven shares his experience of working with Sridevi. “I wrote the role based on Tamil writer Sandilyan’s novel. That’s why I named the character from the book after him. I was looking for someone middle aged for the role and I couldn’t have found a better choice. We initially decided to tell her the story and decide things later.”

Sridevi was enjoying the success of her film English Vinglish (2012) when Puli came her way. He had not taken up any project in three years and the Vijay starrer was a unique choice of the actor. “When I met her in Mumbai, I was surprised to see how up-to-date she was with the current trend and I think she found the script and role unique. Guess that’s why he agreed to do the film immediately. I still remember our meeting where he was extremely honest. I was happy to hear her in Tamil again.”

When asked about his memorable moment from working with Sridevi, Chimbu Deven recounts an incident when the actress surprised him with her impeccable work ethic. “He belongs to the former generation of actors with great professional ethics. He was always on set a little early. He had to wear contact lenses for the role and they stayed on for hours. It once led to an infection and Sridevi had to seek medical help and was in the hospital for two days. However, he had no qualms about it and was back on set in no time!”

Chimbu added, “When we suggested using a skit for the climactic fight sequence between her and Vijay, she wanted to do most of the stunts herself and left only high-risk acts to the stuntman.”

It was rumored that the role of Rajamatha Sivagamidevi in ​​Baahubali was offered to Sridevi, who chose Puli from SS Rajamoul’s film. When asked about the same, the Puli director said, “I think it’s a choice an actor makes based on what he feels is right for him. I think she loved her role in Puli. However, I have not personally asked her about her decision or the Baahubali offer.”

On a concluding note, Chimbu Deven said, “It is an honor to direct her latest Tamil film. One thing I really admired about her was that she had a lot of humility. Even when she was on the clock, she treated her fans with respect. I’ve seen her patiently take pictures with thirty fans in a row without losing her cool. It’s a huge loss for our cinema.”

On the work front, Chimbu Deven last directed a segment named Kottai Paaku Vathalum Mottai Maadi Sitharum in the anthology film Victim. Currently streaming on SonyLIV.

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