'Bachelor' director defends controversial line in his GV Prakash-starrer

Following the release of its teaser, GV Prakash Kumar and Divyabharathi’s Bachelor has gotten noticed for its rawness, with many commenting that it feels similar to films like Arjun Reddy, Ispade Rajavum Idhaya Raniyum and World Famous Lover. But Sathish Selvakumar, the director of the film, clarifies that his film will not be like another film in any way.

“You cannot make a film similar to another film. Maybe you can remake it,” begins Sathish and adds, “Our film is a discussion on what real love is. It is set in contemporary times and will reflect what’s happening in terms of male-female relationships. We have tried to shoot it in a way that is as close to reality as possible. There is no way that this film will feel like another film.”

He says that the script demanded the raw treatment with dialogues that are in your face. “It is the script that decides the form, and since we were trying to portray a relationship in a realistic way, the rawness was inevitable. The dialogues are lines that people speak when they find themselves in a particular situation. I’d rather prefer that the dialogues aren’t noticed at all,” he states.

One particular line, spoken by the heroine, has particularly come under the spotlight, as it has her saying that she should have thought twice before sleeping with the hero. Justifying the tone of the line, Sathish explains, “That is how people speak in the real world. When someone is angry, the mind-to-mouth filter doesn’t work effectively and they tend to say things directly. In this case, the line is uttered by the heroine in a moment of anger and I felt that it would be more truthful. We wanted to see if we could narrate a story through the teaser instead of merely teasing the audiences. We intended to show that this film will be raw and real, and will not be preachy. We did not have this line just to increase the saleability of the film. People who are criticising should also look at the line that the protagonist says before this line. He asks the girl, ‘Did I cheat on you after saying that I love you? Are you a psycho?’ Any girl would have been angered by such a question and would have responded this way.”

He says that he never thought that the line could become controversial while writing it. “I am a first-time filmmaker, so I do not have such fears. It’s very simple. It all depends on how sincere you are towards the film. You cannot be honest if you try to introduce commercial elements. The political stand you are taking is very important, and I think I have taken the right one. Even before shooting, you discuss with at least 50 people, you check whether the artiste likes it, if the producer is OK with it… It is only after all these checks do you film, so it is only after various discussions that a dialogue makes it into a film,” he says.

Point out to him that some in the audience might not be able to appreciate nuances like a writer speaking from a character’s point of view and might even cheer for misogynistic lines, he says, “I totally understand this concern. There are many superhit films that have glorified a man stalking a woman. The thing is, there is no definition for good and bad. Actually, I have received comments appreciating me, and telling me that the line is bold, positive and feels right. I think the way you film is also important. If a Sivaji Ganesan does a negative role, we’d still root for him and cheer for his lines — even if they are wrong. I have been very conscious about not doing the wrong thing.”