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The Rediff Interview
'Dharmapuri is not a political film'
October 19, 2006
After giving successive hits like Thirupachi, Sivakasi and Tirupathi, director Perarasu is back with Dharmapuri this Diwali. If he had directed the likes of Ajith and Vijay in his first three films, 'Captain' Vijayakanth leads the cast in Dharmapuri.
Dharmapuri is an eagerly awaited film, especially after Vijayakanth's excellent show in the Madurai assembly election, the results of which were announced a couple of days ago.
Perarasu spoke to Shobha Warrier about his experience of directing a star-turned-politician, and more.
Your first three films had young heroes like Vijay and Ajith. How different was directing Vijayakanth in Dharmapuri?
There was no difference. All were equally co-operative.
Were you careful about how you portrayed Vijayakanth, since he is a politician now?
Vijay and Ajith also had a certain image. While making films with them, we have to constantly think of that image.
Yes, the image of a politician is different from that of film-stars. But you can't make a political film because films are an entertainment medium and those who watch Vijayakanth Sir's films are not just his cadres but also his fans spanning all political parties. So, what I have done is, I have followed a formula that would please all sections of people.
Still, is it not true that his party people and those who support him expect a political message from this film?
Yes, they do. I have to keep in mind that this is his first film after he became a full-fledged politician. So, I thought of the present image that he has while writing the script. But even otherwise, women expect good deeds from the characters he portrays, and they belong to all political parties.
At the same time, I have to think of his party men too while writing the story and dialogues. But Dharmapuri is not a political film.
But Vijayakanth was very clear that we should not use this medium to attack any particular person or party.
Did he ask you to incorporate his political ideology into the film?
No. I told him the story and he liked it. He plays a man called Sivaram who lives with his father in a village called Rameswaram. The father and son are engaged in supplying vessels, chairs etc for marriages.
The son wants to do good things for people. See, there are people in politics even today who want to do good for the people, but unfortunately those good deeds do not reach the right people mainly because of middle men. Sivaram is a man who fights for the poor and for right causes. He takes up causes when he finds that certain things which have to reach the people do not reach them. While writing the dialogues, I had his position as a leading politician in my mind all the time.
Did you listen to the speeches he had made during the assembly elections?
Yes, because those were my sounding board while writing the dialogues of the film.
What about the songs? During MGR's time, film songs were used to spread his message to the people. Even today, songs like Naan Aanayittal are played at AIADMK party functions.
Songs can have a great impact on people. I am aware of this. So, I myself wrote all the songs, and all of them talk of Vijayakanth Sir's political message to the people. He sings, antha kottayilae kodi parakumda (our flag will fly high on the fort), Pattabhishekam, pattabhishekam�
Are you overwhelmed by your responsibility to project him as a hero to be liked by people?
Yes, it is slightly scary. It is different making a film for an actor. Here, I am making a film with a man who is going to be a major political force in Tamil Nadu.
In your earlier films, the strong relationship between a brother and a sister, or a son and a mother was the highlight. What will it be in this film?
In this film, there is a strong bonding between the father and son. Vijayakumar plays Vijayakanth's father in the film. If people loved the brother-sister sentiment and son-mother sentiment I had shown in my earlier films, they will love this too.
Is there any romantic angle in the film?
No, we have not concentrated on that aspect. There is a heroine in the film but our emphasis has been on what he does for the people in the film.
His last film (Perarasu) had your name as the title. Did he joke about it?
When we had the pooja of Dharmapuri, he said, Perarasu, my new release is in your name. Now, you are directing my next film!
What do you expect from Dharmapuri this Diwali?
You see crackers during Diwali but Dharmapuri will be a theepori (spark).