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'I want to make films that I believe in'

Last updated on: November 30, 2011 12:05 IST

'I want to make films that I believe in'

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Shobha Warrier in Chennai

After producing, directing and acting in Subramaniapuram, Sasikumar produced the National Award-winning Pasanga. Then came Nadodigal, directed by his friend Samuthirakani but produced by Sasikumar, who was also the male lead in the film. His second directorial venture, Eesan, was the only film that did not become a huge success.

Sasikumar both acts in and has produced Samuthirakani's new film Poraali, releasing on December 1.

In this interview, Sasikumar talks about the film and his approach to film-making.

When we spoke after Subramaniapuram, you said you became the producer of the film because no one else wanted to produce it, and you did the lead role as no hero was willing to act in it. You are acting in and producing Poraali too. Why?

When I was making Subramaniapuram, I knew that I would not get a producer for the film as I was unknown as a director and the film had only new faces in it. I had no choice but to produce the film myself.

After the success of the film, I started my own production house and produced Pasanga.  I also made Nadodigal and acted in it. Fortunately, people accepted me in all the three roles--as an actor, director and a producer.

Whilewe were making Nadodigal, Samuthirakani narrated the story of Poraali to me and I was quite impressed with it. I told him immediately that I would produce the film after Eesan.


Image: A scene from Poraali

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'I use my hard earned money to make my films'

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Did you start your production house in order to produce the kind of films you believe in?

Exactly. I want to make the films that I like and believe in.

Why did you agree to act in Poraali?

I started Poraali after I finished directing Eesan. Directing a film involves a lot of stress and tension while acting under somebody else's direction is a tension-free job. When it is directed by my friend Samuthirakani, I feel even more relaxed.

I felt extremely relaxed acting in the Malayalam film Masters by Johnny Antony also. Things move at a happy pace on the sets and that makes acting an enjoyable experience.

I liked the story and the character I was portraying in Poraali, so I chose to produce the film too.

You are there in Samuthirakani's films and he is there in your films. Don't you feel bored doing films together all the time?

When the audience is not bored with us, why should we bother about it? Do we feel bored with living with our own people? Do we feel bored spending time with our friends?

I want Samuthirakani in all my films because he is a fantastic actor. See how different he was in Subramaniapuram and Eesan. When I have such a good actor as friend, why should I not make use of him?

More than that, we are so comfortable with each other. There is an understanding between the director and the actor.


Image: A scene from Poraali

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'Poraali is not a dark film'

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You say you were impressed with the story of Poraali. What is it that impressed you?

My character and his attitude to society. The way he feels responsible for what is happening around him. Samuthirakani has added a lot of humour. He wrote the screenplay with a subtle message that is laced with humour and that is what impressed me. He also told me that he wrote the character for me.

Actually, it is based on a friend of his who is no more. He wrote the story imagining what he would have done if he were alive.

Nadodigal was also based on some of his friends...

Yes. Most of our stories are based on real people we have met and became friends with. Is that not the way all of us get inspired?

Is Poraali not about a fighter?

Yes, he is a fighter like everyone else in this world. We fight to survive, we fight every moment of our lives. The three other characters in the film also fight for their survival. And, all of us succeed in the end. It is not a negative film; it's a positive film about survival.

You say the film is an entertainer, but when you say it's about fighting to survive, that suggests a dark film.

It's not a dark film at all. There is no blood or violence in the film. There is love, there is action and there is comedy.


Image: A scene from Poraali

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'I want to make meaningful films'

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Do you expect Poraali to be a success?

Every film-maker who makes a film dreams of only success. Nobody wants failure. We make films with a commercial purpose. We want people to come and see the film and it should make money.

There was a time when film makers like G Aravindan made personal cinema...

That is not possible today as the costs have gone up. They made films with less money but today, you have to invest a lot of money in films. You can recover that only if the film is a commercial success.

I have no partners or investors or co-producers. The money I make as an actor, I invest in making films. So, I use my hard earned money to make the films I believe in. I want to make many more meaningful films. I can do that only if my films make money.

Today, when people talk about Tamil cinema, they say 'before Subramaniapuram and after Subramaniapuram' ...

When I made the film, I never thought it would have such an impact on people. I am happy and satisfied that my work is appreciated. I feel honoured.

But I don't think about all this when I work on a film. I forget everything and do my work.


Image: A scene from Poraali

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