This new version of Ninnu Kori has a soul of its own

As the warm yellow lights fill the interiors of this elegant residential complex in OMR, they transport us to a dim but tastefully decorated living room. Resting on a white ivory sofa are Atharvaa , Anupama Parameswaran and Amitash Pradhan , glued to the screens in their hands. This could have been a real life scene. We have designed the whole set to create a real atmosphere, says the filmmaker Kannan , flashing a quick smile, whilst running his eyes over the monitor. We are at the set of Kannan’s untitled film, which is a remake of Nani-Nivetha Thomas-starrer Ninnu Kori . But the director does not see the project as a remake. “It would be apt to say that it is a remake of Ninnu Kori’s script because it is not a shot-by-shot remake. I haven't seen the movie again, save for the first time. ”

“We just adapted the script for Tamil sensibilities,” Kannan says, adding that he wanted a fresh take on the hit romance. The Telugu original traces the love triangle between a young woman, her ex-boyfriend and her husband. The tension amidst the triangle is palpable in the room, when Kannan yells cut, happy with the shot.

Atharvaa, who was scribbling notes onto his script, looks up and gives us a smile. “We do not see a lot of one-sided love stories anymore. We had such great films maybe 10 years ago. So, I was instantly attracted to the film when I watched it for the first time, ”the actor says, adding that the Tamil film will have a soul of its own.

While Atharvaa will be seen as a happy-go-lucky chap, Amitash plays the sombre husband, stepping into Aadhi Pinisetty’s shoes from the original. “Aadhi has done such a good job in the Telugu version. But at the end of the day, it is a fresh take on it. We have such good energies and are having a great time, ”he adds.

Apart from its emotion-packed trajectory, the original was praised for Nivetha’s Pallavi, a young woman who is torn between two men. It was important to cast someone who could hold the film with her acting range, Kannan says. “The character is not just beautiful, but she is full of personality. Getting a heroine from Mumbai who doesn’t speak the language was not an option. I have seen Anu’s (Anupama) work and she is excellent, ”the director observes.

Anupama remembers being surprised by Nivetha's performance in the original. “When the movie was released, I remember seeing it in Vizag. I discovered Nivetha's number and called her to congratulate her on her amazing performance, she says, adding that she refrained from watching the movie again to avoid imitating it. “We have changed the script a bit. This film will have a different flavor, ”says Anupama.

Comparisons are going to be inevitable, the cast unanimously agrees. The trick to beat that is by infusing new elements to the film, observes Kannan. “When I row Jab We Met with Bharath and Tamannaah (Kanden Kadhalai), not a lot of them were sure that it would work. But I wanted to adapt the script for the Tamil audiences. It has been 10 years since that film, and I have learned so much along the way. Romances like Mouna Ragam have always set precedence for such movies. We only have thrillers and horrors nowadays. We wanted to break that mold, ”Kannan says, before going on to brief the trio about the next scene.

The film, which will take place in Lille, a city in France, has been captured by Shanmuga Sundaram, who turned on the camera for 96 Prem Kumar. The movie is full of immense emotions. Then, we divide the palette into two parts: flashback and present. The flashback portions will fill with color. The scenes that take place in Lille will have pastel tones and a low contrast appearance, ”the cinematographer tells us, before continuing to shoot the camera for the next shot.