Evam Standup Tamasha founder Karthik Kumar is all set to make his directorial debut this weekend with ‘Super Senior Heroes’. The feel-good comedy—about a grandfather who pretends he’s a superhero to impress his grandson, only to be drafted into a real crime investigation—was written in part by comedians Mervyn Rozz and Rabhinder Kannan. We spoke with the trio about the differences between writing standup and writing a comedy screenplay.
According to Kumar, “The experience of putting together a writer’s room to write a comedy movie was very interesting. It was a very different room from a regular screen-writing room. A few of us took the lead with respect to defining the structure of the film and the spine along which we were to run, and then scenes and most importantly, dialogues were jammed by the comics.”
It was for this reason that Kumar filled his writer’s room with comedians. “The comedy is extremely situational and therefore to land a joke at the emotion of the moment was critical. There is not one scene where there is an attempt at humour which is beyond the realms of the emotion of the scene.”
The Evam founder stressed that he wished to use comedy in a way that diverged from usual regional cinema. On the traditional use of comedy in regional cinema, Kumar said, “There’ll be parallel tracks of comedy which don’t ever entwine with the spine of the film. It’s like an item song—the comedy is an extra thing. You don’t need to understand the story or the film to understand the comedy. This isn’t the case with Super Senior Heroes.”
Comedian Rabhinder Kannan’s first scriptwriting experience was in the writer’s room for Super Senior Heroes. Kannan loved the experience, saying, “it was interesting how the writing process changes when there is clear direction. Like, Karthik would know a-b-c happens and asked us to try and figure interesting ways we could arrive at a-b-c. That kind of focused thinking and immediate peer review was great.”
Mervyn Rozz was another comedian in the writer’s room who was new to writing feature films. Rozz found that his experience in comedy helped him during the writing process. “Standup gives us different perspectives, and here we were trying to make it funny from different perspectives. We were making fun of the hero. And we were writing about the hero making fun of his friends. We even wrote inside jokes amongst the characters which made fun of the film itself.” He concluded, “Through standup we raised important questions which helped us clear logical errors.”
Super Senior Heroes will premiere on Sun TV at 3 PM this Sunday.