How did you get into cinema?
I was inspired to get into films by good cinema. I wanted
to make good films like the ones that I had seen and
like the directors who influenced me, I too wanted to
influence the audience.
you had any kind of formal training?
No, I never had formal training. I entered the
film industry in 1998 but since I came from the
village, I had no knowledge of cinema. However,
when I came here, I made good friends and met
good directors. The directors whom I worked for
trained me for cinema the correct way.
" I had no knowledge
of cinema "
Do you think
the lack of formal training from an institution is
Definitely not. Cinema does not come through learning,
it’s a plus to study at an institution but cinema
is an art form that comes through observation. In
today’s cinema, directors like Selvaraghavan,
Venkat Prabhu have not studied in any institution.
I am not saying it is wrong to study in an institution,
just that if you observe cinema the right way is enough.
How did you
receive your initiation into Tamil cinema?
I came into it in 1998 and aspired to become a director
in 5 years but it took me that time to reach the position
of Assistant Director. I started writing short stories
in magazines. I wrote a small piece on the film Azhagi
which was released in a Tamil literary magazine called
Kanaiyaazhi. After reading this my friends were very
impressed. Then, Va. Gauthaman who has directed serials
like Sandana Kaadu, Auto Shankar, the film Kanavey
Kalaiyathey and now Magizhchi helped me reach Thankar
Bachchan. He read my short stories and was impressed
and I joined him.
Cinema is completely
a powerful media "
us about your experience with Thankar Bachchan?
The period I joined him was the time I was
reading books and writing stories. While working
with him, I understood that a script is not
just about what you think or just about writing
dialogues but that one should work in detail.
Cinema is completely a powerful media and he
helped me learn that.
How was it working
with Director Lohita Das?
I had always liked his films a lot and he was the
film-maker whose films I have watched the most. When
I heard that he was going to direct a film in Tamil,
I approached him. It so happened that he also needed
someone who knew Tamil and Malayalam as an assistant.
Since I knew a bit of Malayalam, I was accepted. That
was the best period of my life in cinema and very
How many films
did you work with him?
Just one film.
was your experience working with Director Balu
Balu Mahendra is like my father; he treated
me like a son. Beyond the fact, that he is a
good filmmaker and director. His best quality
is that even if someone has entered films recently,
he would encourage and praise that person. I
met Balu Mahendra while he was planning to make
a tele-serial titled Kathai Neram for Sun TV.
He wanted to use one of my short stories Mazhai
Vaasam that had appeared in the Tamil magazine
Kalki. We had a very healthy meeting and discovered
that we were on the same wavelength. After that,
he allowed me to participate in many of his
discussions. He also gave me the opportunity
to write the screenplay of Adhu Oru Kana Kaalam
and Azhiyatha Kolangal into books.
" Balu Mahendra is like
my father "
All the directors
you have worked with have usually had complex scripts
with many shades. Will today’s audiences accept
The audience will always accept. They have never
said they won’t accept a particular kind of
film, there are no limitations. From the days of Parasakthi,
Poove Poochooda vaa to Pasanga by Pandiraj which was
only with children were hits. The Tamil audience wants
their hearts to be touched. They should like the film
and would like it to reflect their lives. A film and
that the 2 ½ hours should be useful
you have been in cinema. Have you been discouraged
at any point and thought of giving up?
Good friends and books
helped me stick on "
Yes, at times.
I did not have any cinema background. I am the
first in my family to enter cinema and from
a village in Tirunelveli which is green and
prosperous. After that, living in a city like
Chennai called for lot of compromises. There
were times when I have waited 2 years for directors
who promised to take me on but due to their
circumstances were unable to do so. At these
times, my reading and writing habits gave me
solace. I had the stamina to hold on for five
years and after that the directors encouraged
me and till today they appreciate me well. Good
friends and books helped me stick on.
What is the
story of Aval Peyar Tamizharasi?
When people hear the title they think it’s
a female-oriented story but its not. It’s the
story of a man who says the line, who he is, how she
came into his life as a friend and as a lover and
how she influenced his life in equal proportion as
his mother. We trace his life story from 8 to 30 –
the story of a boy born in a village and who grows
up with his grandfather.
is Jai’s Character in the film like? Is
he rough and tough?
No, Jai has a soft character, you will even
wonder if it’s really Jai who is enacting
this role. He does not have much of dialogue;
in fact if you write down all his dialogues
in the film on a piece of paper, you will find
that it will run to just 20 to 25 pages. He
has shown his performance in his expressions,
eyes and struggle. However you cannot classify
it as a totally soft film either. It has Panchalamkurichi
Padapadakka, Puliyankotta Thadthadakka, a peppy
Kuthu song from Vijay Anthony and a comedy track.
One portion is very fun and the other serious.
" Jai has a
soft character "
Do you think
that there is an expectation to see Jai as a tough
No, the audience will not expect that from any hero.
All fans want to see their hero donning a variety
How did you
choose Nandagi as your heroine?
Nandagi is making her debut with this film. She
has a bright future as a heroine. She has a prominent
place in the list of actresses who can speak Tamil
and know to act. The producer and I were looking for
a heroine for one year and were particular that since
the title had Tamil, we wanted a Tamil speaking girl
with a Tamil face. Before starting the film, I had
made a trailer in which she starred and since she
had performed well I had promised her a role in one
of my films. Then I thought, why not use her for this
film as she was right for the character.
How did u decide
on this theme for your debut film?
I was very stubborn that this should be my debut
film because in the 78 years of Tamil cinema, we have
touched areas that have never been touched. The story’s
background, characterization and many things will
be new. It’s a bold attempt and I think as a
debut director I am confident that I will receive
appreciation for it. I must thank my producer Dhananjayan
as I don’t know if the film would have turned
out so well if I had any other producer.
How was the
response in the Dubai Film Festival?
The response in the Dubai Film Festival was overwhelming
and I must again thank my producer Dhananjayan for
making it happen. As the release got delayed, I came
to the point that I just wanted the film to release.
He took the initiative and took it to the festival.
We had two shows and the audience consisted of people
with their roots in Ramnad, Trichy and Madurai. They
were average cinegoers and after seeing the film the
whole theater stood up and clapped. They said that
the director and Moser Baer who produced it have good
future. It’s customary that the audience at
the festival is given a coupon at each show that contains
stars to rate the film. When we collected the filled
coupons, we were happy to find that 96% rated it very
Life is a creator as
powerful as cinema "
there any genre you want to stick to?
Life is a creator as powerful as cinema. Though
life has its positives and negatives, one must
give the audience something positive. Above
all only love can win in this world. My genre
Tell us about
your cameraman P.G. Muthiah?
My cameraman had done Moser Baer’s production
Poo and Kandein Kaadhalai where he had exhibited his
talent and this is his third film. He has done a lot
of hard work with three different kinds of camera
angles, lighting and expression for the 3 different
periods in the film. I am sure that this will prove
to be an important film in his career.
are some directors who like to go to the spot
and write there while there are others with
a ready script. Which category do you fall into?
I do not agree with the idea of going to the
spot and writing. A film shoot calls for an
expenditure of approximately 1 and half lakhs
a day. A producer invests his trust in the director
and one has to be responsible. If an average
auto driver or farmer toils for 5 years, only
then can he earn and save that amount to get
his daughter married. So when I am responsible
for it, if I go to the spot not knowing what
I want and spend 3 ½ hours writing there,
that would not be the right thing to do. One
should have the script written properly before
reaching the shooting spot.
" One should have the
script written properly
before reaching the
shooting spot "
Share with us
about the music in the film?
Music is by Vijay Antony who is very good. Everyone
thinks he can only do Kuthu songs but he has broken
the mould by doing folk songs in this film. He was
waiting for a chance to show this side of his talent.
When I met him with the story, he accepted and his
work has me 100% satisfied. The re-recording was much
What gives you
the confidence about the film?
I trust the Tamil audience. Even at the All India
level, they form a healthy audience. From Parasakthi
to Pasanga, people have appreciated good films. If
a film is good, they are ready to make it a success.
I trust them.
What are your
Two films are in the offing, one is a complete action
film though it won’t be a formula film but rather
realistic, something like Polladhavan. The other is
an out-and-out comedy.
Have the titles
and stars been finalized?
No, the titles are not finalized yet. We are speaking
to some stars and they will be finalized in a few