Behind the smile

Behind the smile

Chennai: Actor Mohan, who reached inimitable heights in the 80s, recently made a comeback with the film Haraa. While the film garnered much attention for bringing back the Silver Jubilee Star to Tamil cinema, it was also a significant milestone for the film’s director, Vijay Sri G, as the chance to direct a star like Mohan comes after just helming two films: Dha Dha 87 and Powder.

Haraa, which was released on June 7, is a crime thriller that reiterates the importance of knowing our laws. Vijay says he aimed to create a film that balanced family drama with the elements of a crime thriller. “The film is essentially a family drama revolving around a father and his daughter. However, Haraa is also filled with the elements of the action and thriller genres,” he explains.

The director further shares that he chose Mohan as his lead for Haraa because he wanted to visualise him in a different avatar. “Whenever I choose a lead character for my film, I change their look entirely based on the story.

Fans of Mohan sir mostly remember him as a romantic hero. I felt it would be refreshing to change his identity from a romance film lead to an action film lead with Haraa,” he explains, adding that he showed Mohan’s acting range in the film. “We have mainly seen him smile all these years, but he has a way more serious action persona within him, which I wanted to bring out in Haraa.”

Vijay Sri G is first a fan, and then a director when it comes to Mohan. He shares his observations of Mohan as a versatile performer, “Mohan sir is famous for his songs, and people remember him for how well he would take in and perform the songs. However, people failed to notice his versatility in different roles,” he says, further taking examples from various films. “In Mouna Ragam, he hardly has any dialogue.

Most of his emotions are conveyed through his looks and expressions. In Nooravathu Naal, he played a serial killer.” It is these observations that helped Vijay zero down on Mohan’s role in Haraa. “I wanted to retain Mohan’s reputation of doing family films, while also bringing in elements of action, and that’s how we ended up with Haraa.”

The film’s extended cast also includes Anumol, Yogi Babu, and Suresh Menon, while Charuhasan features in a guest role. On the actor’s role in the film, Vijay says, “Charuhasan sir is like family. In Haraa, I needed an actor for a guest role and Charu sir felt apt for it. He is 94 years old now, so I ensured that he did not have to strain for his performance in this film.

” Further, Khushbu was supposed to play the female lead but was later replaced by Anumol. “I met with an accident before the film went on floors and the film’s production got delayed. During this gap, Khushbu ma’am started focusing on politics, so her schedule didn’t suit ours. Even before the shoot began. I watched Ayali on Zee5 and cast Anumol,” he explains the reason behind the change.

Haraa has been garnering mixed reviews at the box office. However, Vijay still retains positive memories of his film. “Mohan Sir was roped in for a big film (The Greatest of All Time) after the title teaser of Haraa was unveiled. Maybe the makers of that film got the idea to cast Mohan sir after watching his look in my film,” he concludes.