Tamil Interviews

‘The Stories In Sillukarupatti Are Short And Sweet Like Pieces Of Palm Sugar’: Halitha Shameem

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Director Halitha Shameem, who made her debut with the lovely coming-of-age tale Poovarasam Peepee, has announced a new film titled Sillukarupatti. The anthology film has four stories that will deal with the theme ‘Strangeness’, and all will be set in Chennai.

The film stars Samuthirakani, Sunaina, Leela Samson, Kravmaga Sreeram, Nivedhithaa Sathish, Sara Arjun, Rahul and Manikandan K. Music for the film is composed by Pradeep Kumar, while four cinematographers – Yamini Yagnamurthy, Manoj Paramahamsa, Abhinandan Ramanujam and Vijay Karthik Kannan – work on the frames.

Speaking about how she ended up doing an anthology, Halitha says, “My second film is Minmini, which is still in production. My friend suggested that I write and direct one segment of an anthology. Later, when no one came forward to make the other segments, I decided to write and direct them too.”

The title, Halitha explains, suited the anthology because her stories are “short and sweet like palm sugar.” “Sillu karupettis are broken pieces of palm sugar.

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Also, this variety comes packed in a box, quite like the stories that fall within one umbrella.”

Danseuse-actress Leela Samson, earlier seen in the Mani Ratnam-directed Oh Kadhal Kanmani, is also a part of the film. She plays the role of an unmarried, independent woman. “I really loved working with her because she is an elegant and efficient actor. We had wonderful reading sessions before the shoot. Also, being a dancer, it is easy for her to showcase the right expression. She is very close to the character I wrote. In the film, she is a turtle conservatory volunteer. I could not think of anyone else other than her.”

Talking about KravMaga Sreeram, who is also part of her film, Halitha explains that she saw his picture on a friend’s social media profile. “He is very young, good looking and a martial arts trainer. I was initially hesitant to ask to him to play the role because the character is weak and aged.”

Sillukarupatti will see strangers meet in unlikely places such as dump-yards, we are told. Actor Samuthirakani’s character is said to be strikingly different. “Samuthirakani sir and Sunaina play a married couple in the film. Their story will talk about how married couples can share the same room and bed and still be strangers. How they reach an understanding forms the rest of the story.”

The other film that Halitha is working on at the moment, Minmini, will feature the child actors who were a part of Poovarasam Peepee. “It is an ambitious film. I have completed shooting the first half, and am waiting for them to grow up so that they fit the age of the characters in the second half. I am planning to resume shooting the film in June 2019 because that is when the roads to Ladakh will be opened.”

As for Sillukarupetti, the final schedule to be shot in Chennai is pending. Halitha hopes to release the film in February 2019.

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