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The Making of Master: Cinematographer Sathyan Sooryan, Stunt Silva, writer Rathna Kumar open up on the blockbuster

Surendhar MK
·4 min read

Tamil superstar Vijay's Master helmed by Lokesh Kanagaraj released worldwide in theatres for the extended Pongal weekend, making it the first full-fledged theatrical release from Tamil cinema after the pandemic. While a few opined that the makers should have gone the OTT way, the theatre fraternity and majority of the star's fans are thanking him for bringing Master to theatres and giving the exhibition sector an opportunity at revival in these tough times. In this exclusive feature, key technicians associated with Master reveal their behind-the-scenes working experiences and shaping the most talked about action entertainer.

Sathyan Sooryan, cinematographer

Sathyan is the man behind the visuals of many popular, intense films such as Yutham Sei, Mugamoodi, Maya, Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru and Kaithi.

Elaborating about the shooting process, Sathyan said, "We'd planned to wrap the entire shooting process in around 110 days. Due to some uncontrollable delays, we went up to 120. Vijay sir was completely flexible and totally submitted himself to director Lokesh; he was open to whatever we asked. This is the film with the least dialogues for him but whatever he says would be effective. Unlike Lokesh's earlier outing Kaithi, this isn't a 'single night' action story. The day-night split is more like 50-50 here, and the visual scope was wider. Lokesh gives me complete creative freedom to explore and push my boundaries. His clarity of thoughts and vision are great, and it's enriching to work with him."

Sathyan also recalled the unforgettable scenes at Neyveli topped by Vijay's memorable selfie with fans, which later turned out to be a rage on social media and trending charts across platforms. "We faced some protests for shooting at Neyveli when we actually had all the requisite permissions to shoot there. No one can enter that zone to shoot, without the proper papers. Against a handful of protesters, almost the entire town of Neyveli and Thalapathy fans gathered in support of him."

Stunt Silva, action choreographer

Silva is associating with Thalapathy Vijay after a long gap of six years since the days of Thalaivaa (2013) and Jilla (2014), where he choreographed the stunts. Silva told Firstpost, "He has grown in a big way and has also enabled the others around him to grow. His dedication, sincerity and humility stay the same. Coming to Master, stunts are an integral part of almost every scene. I myself worked for almost 85 days in this film and this is one of my lengthiest projects due to its action-centric nature."

Talking about the high-octane stunts performed realistically, Silva said, "Vijay sir generally doesn't use any stunt doubles, that practice continued in Master as well. We haven't used any ropes too. Thalapathy did that famous triple kick in the metro fight (which became popular in the pre-release promos), all by himself. Unlike most other Thalapathy films, the stunts weren't very stylised and we've kept it close to reality."

When asked about the secret behind Vijay's lean physique, agility and flexibility even at the age of 46, Silva explained, "I'm sure he pays a lot of attention to his workout routines and diet. Else, it wouldn't be possible for him to be this active and fit at his age. Nothing is possible without discipline and persistence"

Rathna Kumar, additional dialogue writer

Rathna Kumar, known for helming projects such as Aadai and Meyaadha Maan, is one of the dialogue writers of Master alongside Pon Parthiban. Rathna Kumar told Firstpost, "Vijay's films are usually associated with social messages and good thoughts for society. In Master, the social messages were conveyed in a very natural, realistic fashion like how it would be when two friends converse with each other. Lokesh had expressed in a recent interview that Master was 50-50 split of being a Vijay film and a Lokesh film. I predominantly contributed to the half which is dedicated to Thalapathy."

Talking about his sessions with Lokesh, Rathna said, "I was involved in some qualitative discussions in Lokesh's previous Kaithi as well, and that's how our association began. The team had wrapped a schedule of Master even before the release of Kaithi and Bigil which released together for Diwali 2019. But the extremely positive result of both those films didn't affect or influence the content and making of Master in any way."

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