Veera is undoubtedly one of the notable series that has been directed by local filmmaker, M.S Prem Nath. The 22-episode series revolves around Veera, a talented martial artist trained by former boxing champion Thennavan who has to face his brother as a rival in a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) championship. Whether Veera chooses to battle it out with a full heart to win the championship or let his brother be crowned champion forms the crux of the story.
Coming up with a storyline that revolves around professional sports players is rare. But how did the director pull off the series beyond our expectations?
Here’s the interview:
Asking about his inspiration behind directing Veera, Prem Nath has stated:
"I would say the initial parts of Veera’s storyline was inspired by a Malaysian boxer in the 1950s known as Joe Diamond, from Buntong, Ipoh. I had an opportunity to meet him in person many years back. This story was initially developed for a feature film. However, later I decided to give it to Phoenix Films to produce a 22 episodes series for Astro Vinmeen (Ch 202). I can confidently say that this is the first local Tamil series that primarily focuses on Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)."
Any significant experiences directing Veera?
All the athletes featured in this series are professional fighters including both lead cast, Theebaan Govindasamy and Sharmendran Raghonathan, which will give audiences a very realistic view of fight sequences. I am also glad to have had the privilege to cast an international actor, Mr. Mathialagan in this series.
And what about the main cast who stole the entire drama series - Theebaan Govindasamy & Sharmendran Raghonathan..
Could you tell us about your role in this series and also, if you can relate to parts of your role in real life.
Theebaan: I play ‘Veera’. He’s a calculated character, pretty much always been the (acting) head of the family since his father left him and his mother. He took it upon himself to find a way out of poverty and debt, using his skills in the ring. He has his mind set on his ways, and nobody can really change it. I can relate to a lot with this character, being a fighter myself. But a lot of the anger had to be channelled from elsewhere, because Veera simply had a horrible childhood.
Sharmendran: I play ‘Bharath’, Veera's younger brother, in this series. The training and competition aspect that you see in this series is very much similar to what I actually do in my real life. The only difference is, in real life I'm a national Karate athlete while in Veera, I'm a talented martial artist who competes in an MMA championship.
What was your experience like, acting in Veera?
Theebaan: It proved to be one of the toughest roles I’ve taken on to date. The sheer physical strength needed to get this through and just the fight sequences alone were crazy! (And the show is full of 'em’). I was the fight choreographer for Veera, and I also got to assist in the direction of the fight scenes, alongside Prem (director), and that was, by far, the most fun I’ve ever had on a show. We spent weeks, before principal shooting, getting a lot of the creative work out of the way. We had fighters/actors roll in, one batch at a time, and made sure everyone was on the same page. Being able to show the world exactly why I fell in love with this sport, and myself performing these stunts, was huge for me. I had put a lot of thought and practice into what worked and what didn’t and at the end of the day we’re pretty pleased with the outcome. Another super significant moment would be being able to act alongside my brother, Shangkaara Govindasamy. He and I choreographed and performed the fight that aired in Episode 4, as Veera takes part in a big-money fight, against the advice of his coach.
Sharmendran: Veera is actually my debut TV series. I must say acting is not easy. Especially giving facial expressions were very challenging for me at the start but I had the guidance from the director and associate director. They really supported and guided me throughout the entire process. My unforgettable or most challenging scene was when I had to perform the crying scene. It was so difficult but when I saw the final output, I was so satisfied and pleased.
How do you find your transition from a professional fighter to an actor and did your professional fighting skills help you act out this role?
Theebaan: Learning to show emotion in front of a camera lens, with tens and hundreds of people staring at you while you do it, is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to learn. I’m still learning from movies and from people from all walks of life. The harder it gets, the harder we fight, right? My skills and discipline as a fighter absolutely helped a lot. Playing a lead character and having to direct the fight scenes at the same time was quite a feat. Huge kudos to the director and director of photography for being able to accommodate me.
Sharmendran: Yes, my professional fighting skills really helped me a lot to perform my role as Bharath. This is because the series is mainly about Mixed Martial Arts, so it was really easy for me to perform the fighting sequence because that's what I do in my real life. And do take note that all the fighting sequences that you will watch in this series are real and all were performed by professional fighters.
What are some of your hopes for this series?
Theebaan: We have spent a lot of time and energy making this series and we successfully made it happen. First, I want to be happy with what we have done as a team, and it’s pretty safe to say it’s a solid product. I can only hope it finds a place in your heart. We move forwards and upwards, in any case.
Sharmendran: I hope the audience will enjoy this series because Veera is the first local Tamil sports series with a focus on Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) while also presenting elements related to family, friendship, love, and more. This series will also be an eye opener for the public , especially the youngsters to understand the hardship a fighter goes through in his/her daily life to achieve his/her goals or ambition. Do not give up in life, that's the main motto and core message.
As Veera is coming to an end TODAY, don’t miss to watch the finale episode today at 9pm on ASTRO Vinmeen and Astro GO or stream anytime On Demand.
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