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'Haridas is based on a true story'

Last updated on: February 21, 2013 10:08 IST

'Haridas is based on a true story'


Shobha Warrier in Chennai

G N R Kumaravelan has made two Tamil films, Yuvan Yuvathi anad Ninaithale Inikkum, but neither left a mark. So he will be looking to his new film Haridas, releasing this Friday, to change that.

Haridas is about the relationship between a father and his autistic son. The message of the film is that autistic children blossom if they are treated with care and love.

In this interview, the director talks about Haridas and why he chose such an unusual subject.  

Haridas is about the relationship between a father and his autistic son. Is it based on real life characters?

Yes, it is based on a true story. The boy is known to me for the last ten years, but I never thought that I would make a film on his life. It just happened.

I wanted to tell his story but with some commercial elements added because without that, the message or the story will not reach people.

Image: A scene from Haridas. Inset: Director G N R Kumaravelan


'Writing the script was not hard for me'

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How did the idea and real life characters develop into a script?

Once I had the idea, I had to bring it alive. I had real people in front of me. The boy was already there. I modelled the father on my father as I admire my father a lot; he is a role model for me. He is my hero even today.

So, I would say not only the boy but the father is also an inspiration for me to make Haridas.

Writing the script was not hard for me as the characters developed on their own as I knew them very well.

Did you incorporate many real life incidents in the film?

Yes. Like they are real characters, a lot of incidents in the film are also real.

Did you observe the child at close quarters and take the guidance of doctors while making the film?

I met a lot of doctors and had detailed discussions with them on the behavioural patterns of autistic children.

I also used to spend a lot of time with the child. I used to take him to school, to the park etc and watch him and the other children in school.

The time spent with the child helped me a lot in understanding him and his behaviour better. I was very sure that I must not portray an autistic child in a wrong way.

Image: A scene from Haridas

Tags: Haridas

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'I would say that there is autism in every person'

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Film-makers and actors often portray autistic persons as if they are retarded...

I want to break that tendency with my film. I know what autism is all about and how autistic children behave. Autistic children are intelligent and they have the ability to think.

Through my film, I want to tell society and parents that every autistic child can lead a normal life if nurtured well.

What is important is that these children have to be understood. With proper care, understanding and help, they can achieve a lot in life.

Is that the message you want to convey through Haridas?

That is the only message I want to convey through my film. There is a lot of ignorance about autism. You see the way people look at an autistic child in public places, whether it is a park or a cinema theatre, or on the road. It is sad to see that.

I would say that there is autism in every person; only the degree varies. I say this in my film. With care and understanding from parents and society, they can reach sky high.

How difficult was it to make the child actor act the part since he has to understand the mind of the autistic boy Hari?

It was very difficult initially but later on, he understood the character.

Image: A scene from Haridas

Tags: Hari , Haridas

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'I did not want to make an offbeat film but a commercial film'

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How did you manage the bonding between the father and son?

Kishore, who acts as Sivadas, the father, is an amazing actor. He made sure that he bonded well with the boy in real life too.

Kishore is not only a brilliant actor but a very sweet person. He had a lot of patience and used to spend a lot of time with the child. He was all the time on the sets watching all that was happening. Creating the chemistry between the father and son was easy for me because Kishore made such a big effort. 

I had seasoned actors like Kishore and Sneha, so I could concentrate on the small boy.

Is the school teacher played by Sneha created for the film?

Yes, she is not a real life character; I created her for the film.

I did not want to make an offbeat film but a commercial film. A heroine is a must for a commercial film as the man and child alone cannot bring in the audience.

I also didn't want the heroine to just appear and go; she has to be a woman of substance.

Did you choose Sneha because she is one of the few actresses who give life to the roles she plays?

A hundred per cent. Sneha is the best person I chose for the film.

Image: A scene from Haridas

Tags: Sneha , Sivadas

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'I am confident that people will love Haridas'

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Haridas is not the typical commercial film. Was it tough to get a producer for a film like this?

My last film was a flop and I was sure that I would make something different which would have my stamp on it.

I must thank my friend who is also the executive producer, Venu Velmurugan, who took me to Dr V Ramadoss. I must say all the credit goes to my producer Dr V Ramadoss who agreed to produce the film.

Being a doctor, he understood the concept and the importance of telling the story and conveying the message to people. If not for these two, the film would not have been made.

Are you satisfied with what you have made?

I am fully satisfied with the product. I enjoyed making Haridas. As I had the full support of my team, it came out the way I wanted. And, I am confident that people will love it.

Image: A scene from Haridas

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