'I heard a lady screaming and I dashed out, but no one was there': Producer of horror film shares spooky encounter

13 October 2015 / 1 year 2 weeks ago

Nazreen Begum D/O K.B.S
Oct 13, 2015

Back in his army days, Singaporean executive producer N. Shanmuga Sundaram was on guard duty at Choa Chu Kang when he heard a lady scream at the top of her lungs.

The NSman then dashed and tried to find the woman and as you would expect, no one was there.

Later, Sundaram’s officer told him that no one would ever be there and that it was not the first time that they had heard her screams.

The spooked army man then found out that a woman had died on the spot in an accident that had occurred there.

But it wasn't his spooky encounter with the supernatural that propelled Sundaram to produce Tamil sentimental horror flick Unakkenna Venum Sollu which translates to Tell Me What You Want.

The film revolves around Daisy, an 8-year-old who haunts her parents Pooja and Karthick who separated before she was born.

“We had other choices but this is a story that came to me. This is more of a story than a horror film. Horror was part of it but I think it was more of a sentimental issue going on so I liked that part,” he said.

The Media Development Authority (MDA) scholar spent nearly one and a half years to complete the movie and said that it wasn't the shooting process that was the most challenging. It was being away from his then pregnant wife that had a toll on him.

The new dad said: "While I was shooting, the toughest part for me was being away from my wife who was about 7 to 8 months pregnant at that time. I was away from her for two months, she was in Singapore while I was in India."

Perhaps, it was time away from his loved ones that made the Sundaram focus on the power of relationships in the movie.

As the father of a 14-month-old son, he understands the importance of the bond between a father and his child and tried to showcase that in the film.

He tried to show the heart-warming alliance in a scene, where Karthick tries to connect with his dead daughter via hypnotherapy, in an attempt to suppress her rage.

The cinema and television arts major from California State University who has experience working in Hollywood said that scene really resonated with him.

He explains: "It really connected with us. The whole sub conscious track wasn't in the original story. The whole idea of she (Daisy) becoming 8 was raising something in her subconscious. It was the point of redemption for Karthick, as a father, we (director and producer) had to make a choice, we made a stand, he needs to sacrifice."

The sentimental horror flick has had mixed reviews so far but Sundaram feels that he it’s a big achievement especially with the movie’s 150-screen commercial release in India. It is probably the first Tamil film with major Singaporean involvement to get such a wide release in India.

So what's next for Sundaram after the success of Unakkenna Venum Sollu?

The producer gives exclusive details about his upcoming movie and even lets us in on a little secret that he's been hiding. 

Watch the video below to find out more and make sure to catch the movie at Rex Cinema, and browse through the gallery below to see more of Sundaram's works.


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