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Vijay Kumar Sheds Light on His New Political Drama ‘Election’

As citizens proudly flaunt the fading ink on their fingers post-voting, actor-director Vijay Kumar gears up for a different kind of ‘Election’ – his latest film venture directed by Thamizh, acclaimed for his intense drama Seththumaan. But this ‘Election’ isn’t your typical cutthroat political narrative. It’s a family drama set against a political canvas, unfolding the transformative journey of an inexperienced protagonist thrust into the political arena, which ultimately reshapes his life.

The upcoming film is a departure from Vijay Kumar’s previous politically-charged directorials, Uriyadi and Uriyadi 2. “I wasn’t planning on another similar political film, but the story here is unique,” Vijay explains, delving into the rarity of grassroots-level politics in cinema. He believes the hesitation stems from the fear of sparking controversies but advocates for politics as a genre in its own right, capable of communicating profound messages even without overt preaching.

Seththumaan, directed by Thamizh, was a poignant exploration of the politics of caste and food. Vijay assures that ‘Election’ will contain commercial elements to appeal to a wider audience. The script, which was not penned with a particular actor in mind, pushes the lead character to articulate his political stance through a journey filled with personal flaws and growth.

Striking a balance between delivering a message and retaining commercial appeal is a fine line to walk. Vijay emphasizes the need to let characters develop organically to avoid the trappings of didactic or inauthentic storytelling. The challenge also extends to avoiding offense while weaving contemporary politics into the narrative. This attention to detail is reflected even in choosing the fictional party’s name and flag colors, carefully navigating existing political symbols to avoid direct controversy.

Despite playing an ‘angry young man’ in his roles, including dialogues penned for the acclaimed Soorarai Pottru, Vijay doesn’t see the portrayal as typecasting but rather an affinity to roles that echo his personal sentiments toward societal challenges. He understands, however, the fine line between playing to his strengths and avoiding industry pigeonholes.

While discussing the real-world impact of message-driven films, Vijay points out that cinematic endeavors may not immediately resolve societal issues but can initiate a butterfly effect leading to gradual change. Drawing inspiration from the deeply affecting Jai Bhim, he laments the limitations of smaller films in reaching a mass audience without significant star power and the importance of perseverance in the creative process amidst these challenges.

Vijay’s career also reflects a conscious pivot to acting, with plans to direct his next film by the end of the following year. Despite the slower pace of finding suitable projects and the extended timeline for films like Fight Club, acting offers him a canvas to embody others’ creativity and showcases diverse perspectives. This approach enriches his own filmmaking practice where, even as he takes on acting roles, the director within persistently refines his craft.

With his directorial heart beating strong, Vijay Kumar eyes the uncertain future of acting balanced with his passion for direction, a craft he intends to pursue indefinitely. ‘Election’ is more than a film; it’s a reflection of its creator’s ethos—a journey through the complexities of representation, messaging, and the relentless drive to create art that resonates. Catch the much-anticipated drama as it hits theatres on May 17, adding another dimension to the landscape of Tamil and Indian cinema.