NAAM SERIES,Writer/Director/Actor T Suriavelan shares the process behind Naam 2!
Music has been the overall theme for the Naam series, what’s the secret behind that success?
Simply said, I love music. It has the power to enhance and produce an extraordinary experience. I am always attracted to watch a movie based on the songs accompanying it. A musical and visual treat, our songs are a great way to share our brand with an audience.
You wrote the screenplay, dialogues and lyrics for the songs on the show. What motivates your writing?
The movies I watch ,the lasting conversations and even the every day people who pass by on a daily basis play a part to my motivation. My intention is to provide an entertaining ride centred around truth. I write whole heartedly and I am grateful the writings resonate with our audience.
Explain about the different roles you have to take from pre to post?
I witness the initial pitch to the delivery of the end product. With a constant battle against deadlines and making final decisions were the biggest challenges. Everything from actors, production crew and the technical staff had to be accounted for. Constant communication and absolute teamwork was made integral to bring a script to life and a vision to reality.
What is your approach to delegation amongst the team?
A universe had to be created. We worked with cinematographers who went above and beyond their expertise to create its beauty. Every shoot day is story boarded complete with an itinerary for the day. We worked 54 days on Naam2 shooting in jungles, underground bunkers, steel warehouses and ship factories. Everyday briefings and daily run downs as a team is essential. Everyone on the ground is on common terms of daily necessities to ensure the day runs as planned.
What have you taken away from Naam?
Naam has provided me a broader range of improvements to carry forward to our next project.
What can we take away from Naam?
Circumstances make a person. His own reasons may never be understood. It’s easy for us to point fingers at who is good and who is bad but no matter what state the world is in these days, love and hope will prevail.
[09/04, 1:40 pm] Siva PRO: OVERALL DIRECTOR
When and why Naam was created?
In 2019, we submitted a concept pitch to Mediacorp Singapore broadcasting about a group of underdog musicians rooting from rags to riches. Creating and ending a series with two seasons with a memorably high note stands very close and resonates to everyone in 360 entertainment’s journey. With both seasons of Naam, we wanted to show a perspective with fresh ideas and long-lasting memorable scenes in the minds of our audience.
Describe how you would ensure that production is on schedule. What steps would you take?
We were shooting during the Pandemic. We had to work around many restrictions, reduced manpower, delays and the task of creating an island for the second season. Our team understood the kind of effort and the task at hand to bring the vision to life. Constant communication, improvement and preparation to raise the bar.
What in your opinion is an important quality of a film director?
There must be a passion to tell meaningful stories with an audience. I want to share an experience that’s relatable yet centred around an entertaining series.
How do you manage Directing and Acting?
This is where preparation and good communication importantly as a team is essential. Whenever I am unavailable, we would communicate closely through walkie talkies. Time is paramount, production work will commence whilst I complete my make up session for the scene ahead.
Were there road blocks along the way ?
This was our first major production and a huge task is at hand. Coming from an Indie background, it’s a whole new playground for me creating a series for Mediacorp. We had to adapt a new format of story telling and keep our audience engaged. Its all about adapting and evolving to anything ahead.
What can we expect to see coming from you in the future?
Naam2 was thought up to be a movie at first but we decided to mirror a continuation from season 1. The success of the series will be shared on Netflix after March. Future projects are definitely in sight. “Joe” was our first movie and we’ve not made another since our beginnings. We are in our writing stage now and I will be looking forward to announce our next movie title in time.
How long was this process ?
The planning and scripting took about 5 months.
After confirming the panel of cast, we commence 54 days of filming over a period of 6 months.
Although it was ah exhausting and challenging journey, it had it felt like we battled and won a war on the last day.
What can we expect from Season 2 ?
Season 2 is filled with excitement and thrill, suspense and romance. I personally believe no one is good or bad. It’s the situations. It’s his reasons. This is a story about a lot of grey men who are out to find their own justice.
We notice a shift in genre, tell us a little about the change?
We definitely promise more than what you’ve seen in season 1. We embarked with one goal in mind and that is to set a higher standard in what we produce and share with our audience.
The genre has changed but I believe we have execute the transition well. We basically treated Naam 2 as the climax of Naam. Since it was only 11 Episodes, we wanted to make it feel like the climax from the word go. However I assure the core emotion of Naam will be retained and shared among many more promising actors who have joined us for the second season.
What is Rudhirandha?
I think it’s something that’s very close to my heart now. It’s our our imaginary island that we saw about 81km from Singapore and we would have even introduced the island with its history since 1930s.
At present it’s ruled by a ruthless leader, Raana who runs his own military in this island. There’s no law and order and the piece of land doesn’t fall under any neighbouring countries jurisdiction. There’s a price for pleasure for all those who seek paradise.
If you are ready to watch what you can’t un-see, Welcome to Rudhirandha.
What were some of the biggest challenges faced?
The series was shot during Covid and we had to strictly adhere to the rules and regulations during filming. We run through a 7 day Art Test system and took temperatures everyday before shoot. We ask artiste to produce their art result and there were several times we were notified of someone positive before they got to set.
There were also travel restrictions and we had conceptualised a secret island such as Rudhiranda. We had to strategically plan the blockings within the locations we had to create a realistic setting and show a major difference for the city portion
Why do you have a special liking for songs and how is it writing your own lyrics?
I think music perfectly emotes and communicates what I want to say. What I want my audience to feel. Sometimes a journey, sometimes a time travel. Whatever it is, I believe our songs always carry a soul. A meaning and more underlying meanings conveyed as simple as possible.
Naam2 will release on Netflix later this year.
I began as a calefare and made my way to the speaking roles. After a stint of 5 supporting roles or so, I plunged into making my own films.
Filming 2 years in the indie circuit, I honed in skills for writing, editing and directing which all came in useful when we decided to embark on a feature film. Screened 21 days in Singapore and 14 days in Malaysia cinemas, we set a personal record selling out a 1000 seated theatre with our first movie, “Joe, the black assassin”.
“Joe” kickstarted our way to create out of the box viewer content. With that in mind, we created a visual story weaved into a trilogy of Songs. Usuraiya Tholaichaen, Sagiyea and Vilagathey episodically released as music videos. We had found a success formula in our execution after the popularity of the videos.
Our subscribers and viewership have grown at this point awaiting 360’s next release title. We trailered them our next project. The award winning “Avatharam”, a television series nominated in a public vote as the most popular watched series on air.
In the midst of the celebration, we were in the early stages of writing a series that little we knew would propel us a spot on the map. A story about 6 aspiring musicians shadowed by a revengeful man, Naam 1 aired and hosted an audience of 50 million viewers. We set a benchmark with our mega hit song “Adi Penne” at 260 Million listeners. With the support of fans and well wishers from Tamilnadu, Singapore and Malaysia, we received two pinwheel awards for the best content and content creators of the year. We placed top 5 on YouTubes digital content creator list and our subscribers have surpassed the million mark.
With heavy expectations and targets set upon us, we pulled all the stops and filmed the second season of Naam. A captivating storyline ending with a closure for the hit series. Naam 2 along with its Songs were successfully released on Mediacorps platform. For those who missed it, both hit seasons of Naam will be available on Netflix March onwards.
As always, in the midst of a celebration, I would be in the writing phase of my next project. I am looking forward in sharing it with you, blessed, grateful for your support.