Years ago, actor-producer Denes Kumar lost his gold necklace to a snatch thief while he was walking in Kuala Lumpur. He recalled how he was upset when nobody around him offered any help. Snatch theft is a prevalent crime in the city and some victims have even died from the incident.
Denes, 35, told his wife, director Vimala Perumal, that perhaps there was something they could do to raise awareness about snatch theft. That concern is one of a few problems raised in the comedy-drama film Vedigundu Pasangge.
Denes stars as Theva, a happy-go-lucky urumi (drum) performer who also makes a living as a farmer. His life revolves around his best friends and blossoming relationship with a crush played by Sangeeta Krishnasamy.
“We wanted this story to be about people that we may be familiar with. We think of it as a Malaysian story,” said Vimala, 35.
Vedigundu Pasangge is set against a colourful backdrop that highlights the many cultures and traits of the Indian community in Malaysia. It portrays the friendly nature and community spirit of those in the small town. There is a also a reflection on the divide between city folks and rural dwellers.
True to Kollywood production style, Vedigundu Pasangge also features catchy song-and-dance sequences as part of its narrative. Look out for #LoveMood, a romantic number performed by Denes and Sangeeta in the film.
“Shooting #LoveMood was the biggest challenge for us. It took us five days to complete the scenes. Then post-production for visual effects took about a month.
“We wanted to do something that is on par with top Kollywood productions but the essence of the sequence is still very much Malaysian,” explained Denes.
When his character Theva ends up on the wrong side of the law, Denes said this is where viewers can reflect on the underlying message of the film.
“There are people in this film who are desperate to make money. Viewers would say, ‘Why not get a job?’. But it’s not that easy to get a job when they don’t have the right qualifications. That is why some people end up in crime,” he said.
Vedigundu Pasangge completes Vimala’s film trilogy on the lives of Indian youths in Malaysia. She started with Vilaiyaatu Pasange in 2012 and followed with Vetti Pasange in 2014. All films feature different characters in different situations. A common thread is an emphasis on education being important in life.
But Vimala doesn’t want to burden viewers with moral lessons by being too preachy. Ultimately, she wants her audience to have an enjoyable time at the cinema.
“Nobody likes to be given advice in a forceful way. We use cynical humour as our approach for Vedigundu Pasangge to relay our thoughts on crime and other social issues. If the audience gets it, then we are happy,” she said.