'Only the size of the screen differs from YouTube to the TV to the theatre. The camera, the lights, the script, the dialogues, the actors, the music, the drama, the emotions are all the same.'
Suresh Krissna talks about making films for television.
Suresh Krissna has made many feature films including blockbusters with big stars. He also ventured into television, making serials for the small screen.
Recently, the ace director helmed a Tamil film, Hitler… Yengirintho Vandaan, which was released exclusively on television.
The film aired on Zee Tamil on May 29.
In this interview, Suresh Krissna discusses this first-of-its-kind made-for-television attempt with Rediff.com contributor Radhika Rajamani.
How did you think of making a Tamil commercial film, Hitler... Yengirintho Vandaan, for television?
Actually, I have been mooting this idea to many channels but somehow it didn't work. They all were apprehensive as to whether it would work.
My proposal was simple. The channel buys the medium budget film for a price of Rs 30-35 lakhs as satellite rights. The problem was they had to buy the film not knowing the script or what the outcome of the film would be till it was released.
I gave them four or five subjects so that they could decide which subject suited their audience. If it was suitable, I would make an original film for them on that budget.
Zee Tamil agreed so the film finally got made and has been aired to rave reviews. Now, the movie belongs to them.
Did you begin the script work after finalising the channel?
I already had a script ready. The original story is by a writer from Mumbai, Uttam Gada, with whom I worked on many subjects.
The screenplay is mine and the dialogues by Chitralaya Sriram, who worked with me on the serial, Aahaa. He's a writer with amazing talent, just like his father Chitralaya Gopu.
The channel gave me a free hand when it came to the script.
This film was made on a modest budget of Rs 35 lakhs and shot in a short span of nine days.
How did you manage this project?
It was a massive challenge.
First, I broke down the script and made a schedule -- a minimum of 15 days was a must.
It was an amazing team effort from my cameraman, art director and production. Everyone took it up as a challenge and got it done.
I had my good friend Deva do the music; Pa Vijay wrote the lyrics and Ashok Raja did the choreography.
I had worked with editor Richard in the Mahabharatham serial and found him very talented, so I got him to edit the film.
Ganesh Kumar has been my cameraman for a long time now. Speed with quality has been the key with him. He understands me perfectly.
You basically chose television stars to act with newcomers. Was it a deliberate decision?
Yes, I did not want to take television actors only as it would then look like a TV serial. I had to get actors who were not only doing films but were also known in TV. Delhi Ganesh and Devyani fit the bill perfectly. I told them I could not pay much as I had to make the film at a very moderate cost. They agreed; that was nice of them.
The hero, Arjun, is from Dubai. I had worked with him during my television serial, Aahaa.
Pavithra is a pleasant looking girl and a nice actress. Bharat Kalyan wanted to do this film from the beginning and he played his character very well.
Did you have a free hand in the making the film?
Yes. The only problem was I had over shot the film by 20 minutes and had to delete them. In nine days, we almost got a 2 hour 45 minute film ready.
What was the response to the telecast on May 29?
It was huge. The family audience loved it. I feel overwhelmed.
Do you plan to make more films for television?
As I told you, I have submitted five subjects so I am ready with four more. I had proposed an idea to give a film every month.
Some I may direct, some I may get it done from another director for my production house.
What’s happening on the feature film front? When do we get to see a film from you?
There are meetings and discussions going on. Right now, I am living this moment.
Only the size of the screen differs from YouTube to the TV to the theatre. The camera, the lights, the script, the dialogues, the actors, the music, the drama, the emotions are all the same.
I am happy I am working. I am happy trying something different for television. I will be happy if this new trend catches on because many will get job opportunities -- actors, directors, writers.
New avenues should open.