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'It took three-and-a-half years to release Thanga Meengal'

November 01, 2013 08:28 IST

'It took three-and-a-half years to release Thanga Meengal'


Shobha Warrier in Chennai

Tamil director, Ram has made only one film, Kathrathu Thamizh, before Thanga Meenkal. But that one film gave him a reputation that has lasted for more than five years.

His second film, Thanga Meenkal, has been praised very highly by the critics.

The film has been selected for the Indian Panorama at IFFI 2013, the only Tamil film to be selected.

It will also be shown at the International Children's Film Festival to be held in Hyderabad, in Children's World, a non-competitive section.

In this interview, Ram talks about the double honour.

Congratulations for Thanga Meenkal being selected for the Indian Panorama and International Children's Film Festival. How did you celebrate the news?

There was no celebration. I hadn't sent my first film to any of the film festivals. This time, the producers sent it.

I feel happy for the honour because a lot of people will watch the movie again.

Thanga Meenkal is the only Tamil film selected for the Indian Panorama...

I am a little upset because six Malayalam films and five Bengali films have been selected and only one Tamil film.

At the same time I am happy that Thanga Meenkal has been selected.


Image: A scene from Thanga Meenkal


'There were a lot of hurdles to make Thanga Meengal'

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It has been a long gap after Katrathu Thamizh. Was it difficult for you to make this film?

 I wouldn't say difficult, as I chose this path. Yes, there were a lot of hurdles to make this film.

Initially I wanted to make the film with my friend, Karunas. But the producers felt that if I, who has the reputation of a serious filmmaker after Katrathu Thamizh, made a film with an actor who is known as a commercial comedy actor, it would not work. Karunas and I both tried, but we could not find a producer for a year.

Then Gautham Menon entered the scene as the producer. He also felt that Karunas would not fit in as the main actor.

How did Gautham Menon come into the picture?

We knew each other from my Karathu Thamizh days. He had liked the film a lot. He told me that whenever I had an idea, I should narrate it to him.

One day I narrated the script to him and he said he would produce the film if I acted in it!

Image: A scene from Thanga Meenkal

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'I have never acted before'

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But you have no experience in acting...

I have never acted before, not even on stage.

Why did he ask you to act?

He said that when I narrated the script, he felt I suited Kalyanasundaramm, the father character well. But it took me two months to decide to act. He was such a good producer that he never interfered with me in the creative part of the film.

It took me three-and-a-half years from the conceptual stage to finally release the film. Finally it was Sateesh Kumar (who distributed Naduvulla Konjam....,Paradesi etc)who became the producer and released the film. 

Image: A scene from Thanga Meenkal

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'The film is the collective story of me, my friends, my daughter and her friends'

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Did it frustrate you when you had to wait so long to finally release the film?

It is frustrating but I am used to it now.

What were you doing after Katyrathu Thamizh?

I wrote the script of Thanga Meenkal one-and-a-half years after Katrathu Thamizh. In between I was to start a film with Dhanush and Siddharth, but some problem arose in the last stage.

How did the idea of Thanga Meenkal come about?

That is because I am also a father and I have a daughter. The story is written with me and my daughter in my mind. She inspired me to write the story.

I would say the film is the collective story of me, my friends, my daughter and her friends.

Was a part of you there in the father?

No. I am not the Prabhakar of Katrathu Thamizh or Kalyanasndaram of Thanga Meenkal.

I am a very practical guy. I am not as stupid as them. But there are quite a few people like them in real life.

Image: A scene from Thanga Meenkal

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'I am glad that people still remember my film Katrathu Thamizh'

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When you met producers with your script did they tell you to make a typical commercial film?

Not only producers, everybody I met told me to make at least one commercial film to make some money!

I tell my friends that there is no formula for a commercial film. If it does well in the market, it becomes a commercial film. Now, Thanga Meenkal has become a mainstream film as it has done well in the market.

Is it tough for a filmmaker like you to survive today?

I feel things have improved so much from the time I made Katrathu Thamizh. I am glad that people still remember Katrathu Thamizh and they describe me as the filmmaker of Katrathu Thamizh. Some people even wished me Happy Birthday on the day it was released.

On the opening day, Thanga Meenkal was full and that was only because people came to watch the film made by the director of Katrathu Thamizh.

So, it is not about how many movies you make, but make movies which people remember.

I chose this path and I am happy about it.

Does that mean you will make only serious films?

No, I want to make all kinds of films. Thanga Meenkal was totally different from Katrathu Thamizh.

My next film is about those in the 16-24 age group. I am going to deal with male and female relationships. It is in a different genre.

The film is titled Taramani and the female lead is Andrea and the male lead is Vasanth Ravi, a new face

Image: A scene from Thanga Meenkal

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