Thursday, 10 August 2017

You will even hate Taramani but, won't be disappointed: Ram

With his daughter's crayon arts welcoming the visitors, the drawing hall of Director Ram's office reminds us of the memories of his Thangameenkal, that runs in our minds. Carrying those memories, Soundarya and I entered the room where Ram was waiting for us to interview him. This was one of the dream moments for me, coming true. Though I had already interviewed a lot of celebrities before, I was always having a separate list of special-personalities to meet and interact. And, Ram being one of them, it's like a check box crossed in my bucket list.

Photo: Soundarya Ravi
I should thank my colleague Soundarya Ravi for making this happen. Since this is one of my dream interviews, it went on for over 50 minutes on and off the record. So, I'm restricting myself by documenting only those Taramani segments of our interaction in this blog post. I will share the rest of our interaction sometime later. For now, here are the excerpts of our interview.

1. Why Taramani? Why not any other neighbourhood in Chennai or Tamil Nadu?

Actually this movie is not just about Taramani. Tamil cinema has narrated a lot of tales relating the cultures of North Chennai and South Chennai. But, there is a new Chennai which evolved in the recent years. The Chennai beyond Taramani, which is struck in the hands of globalisation. This film speaks about that. More over, this is not only about Chennai, but, wherever globalisation has its effects, be it Taramani or Thachchampatti, my movie speaks about it all.

2. Taramani's promotional posters in social media speaks and trolls a lot of present day politics. Is this just a promotional strategy or do you really want to talk politics?

When such movie promotional posters were published in the past in newspapers, it conveyed the same thing everyday, 'the release date'. If I do the same thing today in social media, people will surely get bored of it. So, there needs to be an attraction factor. At the same time, if the government can telecast its advertisements in cinema halls, why can a movie's poster not speak politics. After all, we have just spoken about the politics which a common man standing in an auto-stand or a tea shop speaks.

3. You have glorified Yuvan Shankar Raja for his work in Thangameenkal, in an award function. So, what space has Taramani given for Yuvan? Will you take him to National Award at least this time?

Yuvan always works with utmost sincerity in all projects he commits to. I, every time will try to differentiate Yuvan's work from my previous movies. For Thangameenkal, it would differ from Katrathu Tamil. While, this time in Taramani, it differs completely from my both previous movies. Even in our future associations, it would differ from these three. That is what we both try to do every time. And, award is not just a one sided wish. It is the jury, which has to decide that.

4. What is Tarmani all about? As the posters and trailers seem to convey some feminist thoughts, politics and globalisation, what does your movie actually speak about?

Taramani will not speak feminism in specific. It tries to convey what a female thinks and wants in a relationship. It is also about the man and his expectations in the relationship. Moreover, it speaks globalisation. There is nothing on Earth that is away from the influence of globalisation and politics. Even if you fall in love, there is an influence of politics and globalisation in that. Taramani speaks about it. On the whole, it is a movie that is imponderable (Motta thalaikkum mozhangaalukum mudichu podura padam).

5. Ram has an image of a controversial orator among the people. How do you react to this?

I do not see any of my opinion as a controversy. It is from the receiver's end. The person who listens to me could have a different definition for controversy, so they find mine in that definition. But, I speak out my thoughts which I feel right. If I find my opinion wrong tomorrow, I am even ready to correct it. Because, I cannot live without expressing.

6. What can we expect from Taramani? What would be our take away?

As I said earlier, Taramani is about relationships. The plot revolves around the two persons in that relationship. I have not given any sort of exaggeration for this movie, so I cannot say in particular on what audience can expect from Taramani. All I can say is that you would either love Taramani or even hate it. But, you will never get disappointed by it.

-Santhosh Mathevan,
Chennai, August 10, 2017.

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