Hello young and the oh so young at heart!
This being my 1st post in ‘talkie with rekhs’ for 2013, let me wish every single reader online a sooooper dooooper rocking year, filled with goodness of health and gladness of heart garnished with peace of mind of the purest kind! And…let us take our beloved India worldwide in all spheres making a deep impact.
Put this down as serendipity…my fb friend Ganesh (who recently directed a short film Kuttimma) shared this music video ‘Simply India’ directed by Vijay Anand just as I was writing this piece.
Several pats on your back, Vijay Anand, as many as the kilometers you traveled (15000 or more?) to share the glory of our country globally.
My sincere-most apology for this total eclipse of my thoughts on ‘talkie with rekhs’ especially with the Behindwoods team being so patient with my delays and decelerated mode!
I actually wanted to write a thank-you note to all those who helped me successfully subtitle roughly 75 films in 2012, but the list was longer than Lord Hanuman’s tail! But thank-you all, every single person who made a Goliath difference to this ‘David’!
Speaking of David…I created a record of sorts subtitling this film in the shortest time possible. But unfortunately the film has 2 sets of subs and I don’t know if mine will see the light of day! And that’s the reason ‘talkie with rekhs’ took a temporary backseat.
Good to be back…with director of NKPK, Balaji Tharaneetharan who impressed me with his humility. I have in fact told him I’d give him a hard knock on his head if the success of this film changes his mindset and attitude.
Balaji was a sandwiched child, between 2 brothers Sriram and Ranga. I remember Karthi (actor) and my middle daughter Svasti empathizing with each other of how the middle child is always the neglected child! 1st one becomes dad’s pride, the youngest is mom’s pet and the middle one is dangling in Trisangu’s paradise…or evolves as world’s favorite?!
As a child, Balaji reveled in narrating stories to his friends and family…tales churned out of his mind, wrapped in vivid imagination, of characters from the pages of his real life. I guess God marks our life’s journey with dots to join, to make our dream that is closest to our heart come true. We can then get to see the whole picture.
The 1st dot in Balaji’s path was opting for a diploma in film technology in Taramani film institute, Chennai. He studied editing and enhanced his editing skills by taking on a 6 months course in Anna University in digital film making and non-linear editing.
In 2002 Suvadugal, a short film that he edited fetched him the state award as ‘best editor’
As a free lance editor he got to know Alphonse Roy the cinematographer and RV Ramani the film maker. They helped him reiterate to himself that he was heading in the right direction.
Most often, all of us have that one single childhood friend who knows us inside out, sometimes better than our own mind or heart understands us! That special friend in Balaji’s life is his classmate Prem (DoP of Pasanga) who proved to be an important dot in his picture! (pun intended) It was Prem who taught him to take stills. 1st camera he bought and still cherishes is an Asahi Pentax K 1000.
Balaji was the script writer of LL Chandru IV ‘B’ an 18 minutes short film. It was critically acclaimed besides being selected for the Indian Panorama. This dot in Balaji’s picture, was (also) based on a true story and likewise Prem was the cinematographer. You can view it here:
In 2006 Balaji directed a short film ‘Andha summer leave-la’ that boosted his confidence level a few notches more. With Alphonse as DoP, Prem as Asst. DoP, it was the perfect love story. In S.M Raju’s Varnam, Balaji put his grey matter to test, as 1 of the 5 script writers for the film.
Sometime in the beginning of 2010 Balaji was watching a thriller movie, Una pura formalità ( A pure formality) written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, starring Roman Polanski as a police detective- a story that happens in one night and with very few characters. Inspired by the simplicity of the film (not its content) Balaji got enlightened as to what kind of film his heart would miss a few beats for! He immediately started ticking off from a list in his mind, real-life incidents that happened either to him or his close friends.
He went to Prem’s house and told him a story. As we all know, NKPK was none other than what happened to Prem before his wedding! Prem heard it and half way through said, “at least stick to real names so your flow doesn’t get hindered!”
What happened next, I told Balaji, he should be eternally grateful till his last breath! Hold your breath and listen to this. Prem and Balaji’s common friend Bucks had been searching for the right producer to give a platform to showcase his directorial skill. He had approached Leo Visions. But when Leo Visions said his film required more than what they intended spending, Bucks immediately referred Balaji. Now tell me, how many people you know would do something as magnanimous as this? Raj Kumar of Leo vision heard it, his heart did miss a beat, in the right way and he gave the green signal!
From February of 2010 to May, Balaji and his team combed the whole of Chennai, beach, Loyola College, City centre. You name it and they have been there, their eyes scanning a zillion faces to find the right person to play Saras…who was finally found - Vigneswaran, a student of Loyola.
I called Bucks to ask him what he thought of Balaji, as a friend and as a director. I was so enthralled by his performance in the film. Extremely realistic portrayal! He at once replied, ‘he has +ve vibes and is surrounded by people with positive energy’. That I think is one of the major reasons, (not robbing Balaji of the due credit) for being a ‘thumbs up’ director. As a director, Bucks says, ‘for every single actor on the set, this would be a milestone and the best performance ever, all because Balaji knew in his mind’s eyes what should NOT be done as much as what strikes the right note!
Balaji is extremely thankful to his producer for having this kind of faith in him and for being so supportive. But I’d say ‘you need a CT scan if you don’t take to Balaji’! He comes across as such a humane being, endearing, honest, humble and so sincere. He owes his sense of humor, evident in his dialogs, to his dad. Right from his film institute days his mom has been his Rock of Gibraltar. Special pat on Govind’s back, his editor (debut) who worked night and day, patiently sifting and sieving all the shots single handedly. The entire team is so geared up, enthusiastic and willing to walk that extra mile, paint that additional stroke.
Credit goes to Balaji for extracting the best out of Siddharth Vipin (Background score) and Ved Shankar (sound track). In fact the songs are so good, this is one film you wish at least one more song had been visualized! Prem of course brought to reel life what he experienced in real life!
The other day when my husband, daughter and I were going out somewhere, I said, ‘pah’ and immediately we shared glances and burst out laughing…because what flashed in all our minds was the reception scene and Vijay Sethupathi saying ‘pah…she looks like a ghost’!! Such is Balaji’s lasting effect, even days after watching this hilarious movie.
Join the dots and you can watch this fun filled film ‘naduvula konjam pakkatha kaanom’! I only hope I didn’t miss out on any of the pages in Balaji’s life…ooops! I almost did!! Balaji is also a happily married man and let’s wish him and Sudha loads of love laughter and luck to last a lifetime! And more box office hits, so we can tell the whole world ‘we churn out awesome blockbusters that are stress busters!’
when love gets a field day…rekhs
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