Shooting for Tamil cinema's first space film Tik Tik Tik has now been wrapped up. The upcoming Kollywood science fiction has been written and directed by Shakti Soundar Rajan and features Jayam Ravi, Aaron Aziz and Nivetha Pethuraj in lead roles, along with Arjunan Nandakumar, Jayaprakash, Ramesh Thilak.
A major portion of the film was canned in Ooty, Kodaikanal and in Chennai, while it was also being shot in Munnar, where the shooting halted for a while due to the arrival of forest elephants. The first look teaser was released on August 15, 2017.
Going by the visuals, Ravi and his team are sent to space to stop a 200 kiloton missile from reaching Earth. The film marks the reunion of Ravi and director Shakti Soundar Rajan after last year's Tamil zombie thriller Miruthan. There will be no usual masala elements like romance or songs in the movie. Produced by Nemichand Jhabak and Hitesh Jhabak, the film’s music has been composed by D Imman and captured on celluloid by cinematographer S Venkatesh. Tik Tik Tik will release in a large number of screens across Tamil Nadu as Kollywood's market king Thenandal Studios Limited have snapped its theatrical rights.
Jayam Ravi who was last seen as a tribesman in Tamil film Vanamagan, essays the role of an astronaut in the movie, while popular Singaporean actor Aaron Aziz will be seen in a powerful and menacing villain’s role. Aaron, who mostly performed in Malaysian and Singaporean films is marking his entry into Kollywood for the first time in his career. He was cast because the makers wanted an actor of Asian descent. “We were on the lookout for an Asian actor and we also had a few options. But we went with Aaron because he’s very popular in Malaysia and Singapore, which are very important markets for Tamil films. It was a delight to work with him as he is very committed. Even when he didn’t have scenes to shoot, he would hang around on the sets as he hated sitting in his caravan,” said Shakti. The leading lady Nivetha who joined the film's cast in September 2016 was selected due to her training in jujutsu and kickboxing.
For about 70 percent of the film’s shoot, Ravi was attached to a harness. It would usually take him an hour to take a loo break because he had to remove his space suit and then put it back on. In fact, he couldn’t even sit wearing the suit, so he would ask the harness to be loosened and stand through most part of the shoot. Jayam Ravi also shares screen space with his real life son in the film who is debuting as a child actor through Tik Tik Tik. Ravi plays father to his own son.
The film depends heavily on the set design and CGI. Shakti is all praise for his art director SS Murthy, and believes if not for him they couldn’t have pulled off this project. “Our art director took the whole film to the next level. It’s with impeccable detailing he built the interior of a space shuttle. Usually, art directors in Kollywood have a warehouse with materials that are commonly used on many projects. But we sourced a lot of material and it’s not easy to build such extensive sets on this budget. We built four sets. The interiors were made life-size and the exterior was shot in miniature,” Shakti says.
“Two weeks after the release of Miruthan, I met Ravi to discuss the idea. He got really excited and was ready to come on board immediately,” recalls director Shakti, admitting it was very challenging to write a space film. “The writing process, especially the exhaustive research work, took us nine months. That’s the time that’s usually spent on writing, shooting and making a regular commercial film. Initially, we spoke to a retired scientist from Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and got the basic facts right about everything related to space — the space shuttle set up, the kind of work that goes on ground and in space during a mission and the important decisions that are taken. Once the research part was cleared, the writing process was relatively easier,” he said.