Director Rambala, who was instrumental in shaping the career of actor Santhanam via television comedy series 'Lollu Sabha', says fame has not changed his erstwhile protégé with whom he has teamed up for forthcoming Tamil horror comedy Dhilukku Dhuddu.
"I've known him for 15 years. Despite his phenomenal rise as an actor, nothing about him has changed. Thanks to his helping tendency, so many artistes from 'Lollu Sabha' have been employed on this project. I take pride in being known as his guru," Rambala told IANS.
Santhanam's helpful nature paved way to Dhilukku Dhuddu, which releases in cinemas on Thursday (7 July).
"In 2013, I was approached by a producer with an offer. Apparently, another director who worked for 20 days on the project left unannounced and the producer wanted me to fill his position. I wanted to hire a new set of actors, but the producer was not happy with the idea. Eventually, we had a fallout and I left the project," he said.
Around the same time, Rambala met Santhanam and explained his situation.
"I readied another script for Santhanam, which he liked and immediately gave his consent to work together. Since we have known each other for a long time, he wanted to give me the perfect launchpad, and hence, spoke to producer Murali and brought Sri Thenandal Films on board," he said.
Tipped to be a spoof on horror comedies, the film also stars newbie Shanaya, apart from Saurabh Shukla and Yogi Babu.
"Most horror films are about haunted mansions, revenge and some humour. We have attempted something different within the horror space and we believe audiences will appreciate it. This is a horror film with a twist," he added.
Going by the promos, Santhanam's makeover will be much talked about. And Rambala nods in agreement.
"So far in his acting career, he has always been seen sporting a clean shaven look and wearing any costume that he would be handed over. I wanted to break that monotony, and therefore, suggested a complete makeover for Santhanam," he said.
Santhanam was excited to experiment with his looks.
"He has always been willing to try different things. We wanted him to have a rugged look, so we made him grow beard like Virat Kohli. We hired a costume designer and gave him a stylish makeover. He even wore suits," he said, adding the film explores a different dimension of Santhanam.
"All those who have watched Santhanam so far and have created an image about him are in for a pleasant surprise. He will stun audiences in dance and action sequences. In one of the action scenes, Santhanam fights in his suit and it will be a treat to watch," he said.