Caarthick Raju’s name was a hit during his school days. So much so that his “mischievous” friends would stretch the sound of ‘Caar’ in Caarthick just to bully him.
But there’s an interesting story nehind the unusual spelling. It was his grandfather’s decision to spell his name Caarthick, instead of the more commonly used spelling: Karthik/Karthick. “He wanted to have a different spelling for my name. Wherever I went, people asked me if it was due to numerology. I didn’t have the patience to explain to them every single time. So, I said ‘yes’ with a fake smile,” says Caarthick Raju, who is gearing up for his third film, the Sundeep Kishan-starrer Kannadi (Ninu Veedani Needanu Nene in Telugu), which is hitting screens on July 12. It has been a tiring journey for Caarthick given that he had to helm two different versions of the same film. Excerpts from an interview:
What prompted you to write Kannadi?
I was discussing with my cameraman and we decided to make a horror film. In Tamil cinema universe, there would be over 10,000 horror films by now. But we wanted to do something different with what could be called a done-to-death genre. Generally, I have an affinity towards relationship-based stories. So, Kannadi also has an emotional quotient apart from the horror factor.
Since you brought this up, how different would you say Kannadi is, considering we have a slew of horror films in Tamil?
We consciously avoided the typical horror template — of a ghost taking revenge. If you look at horror in Tamil cinema, it has subgenres like horror-comedy, psychological horror and so on.
In ours, the hero (played by Sundeep Kishan) sees the reflection of a character in the mirror. Now, one is bound to ask the question if it’s a horror or a thriller.
There’s an interesting scene in the trailer where you talk about a little boy from Greece…
I was reading related stories about ghosts and exorcism. There’s a scene involving a pastor for which we spoke to a couple of people about things related to Christianity. The story about the little boy is completely fictional, and isn’t based on a true incident.
By your own admission, you said Kannadi is a genre-bending movie. What are the challenges when you write such a script?
If you take Ratchaasan, it’s a complete thriller. But that isn’t the case with Kannadi which encompasses elements of comedy, action, sentiment and horror. I’ve been writing like this since my debut film. Even in Thirudan Police, you can see the character’s transition.
Kannadi is getting released simultaneously in Telugu. When did you take that discussion, assuming your screenplay was primarily written for a Tamil audience?
I pitched the Tamil version to Sundeep Kishan and he suggested that we make it in Telugu as well.
We had to make the necessary changes in the screenplay and, in fact, we had to change the order of scenes in the Telugu version.
Have you started working on your next?
Not yet. It’s been double the journey with Kannadi — from dubbing to editing. I’ll take a break for a week and start pitching my next script to producers.