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She goes by instinct

SHE IS unassuming and quiet, belying the sense of humour and good sense that essentially make up this young person on the threshold of a rewarding career.

Meet Priya V., the person who is behind the new venture produced by Madras Talkies - a daily serial which will see Priya directing a host of talented artistes including veterans such as Manorama and Seema. To be aired from July 15, this is probably a good stepping stone for Priya who had decided even during her college days that this is the line she would eventually choose.

As in most beginnings, Priya was always the frontrunner even in her school days at Vidyodaya as far as acting and putting up plays was concerned. She continued it with vigour when she was in Madras Christian College studying literature. She directed two or three plays at the collegiate level. It was around that time that she met Suhasini who offered a small role in ``Penn'', which she directed. It inspired Priya into taking up a course in direction at the Film Institute in Chennai. The course prepared her in all aspects of film-making theoretically - but it was when she became assistant to Mani Ratnam and Suhasini for ``Iruvar'', ``Dil Se'', and ``Indira'' that she actually learnt how it worked.

Priya also went on to do a documentary for DANIDA which was well- received and worked on a serial for 7th Channel which she scripted and directed. It is, however, yet to see the light of day. Ganesh-Vasanth, along with Suhasini, was the next one, which she says, kind of prepared her to take up the daily soap, which she is currently doing. In addition, she has also written a screenplay and dialogue for a film that is being directed by actress Revathi.

Priya is a person who works by instinct - whether it is a story she chooses to take up or scenes which she conceptualises. ``You must have the passion for a story - get convinced, believe in it totally, to be able to make a good thing out of it,'' she says.

She strongly believes in the visual medium but is cautious when it comes to defining what she is seeking to do. She has no great illusions of doing something different or doing films that are qualitatively different from what one gets to see. All she cares about is making films and serials that are sincere and from the heart as far as she is concerned.

Is she going to stick to directing serials or are films on the anvil too? ``Oh yes I do want to make several films - I want and I hope to, but I am not in a hurry. I am taking one project at a time and since this is something that I love doing I don't foresee myself doing anything else. I take things as they come and I am open to anything that appeals to me,'' she says. About the serial she is directing at present, she says. ``This is a subject close to my heart - the story appealed to me and I could empathise a lot within the characters and the institutions, which makes it easier for me to get the best out of my artistes.''

Having worked with directors such as Mani Ratnam, it is but natural that she is influenced by this style and system of working. Which includes, to a large extent, an eye for details and complete discipline. ``Actually I am influenced by both Mani (Sir) and Suhasini. It is from them I have learnt that whatever you do, do it sincerely - and also how to conceive a scene and how it is always a team effort and not one individual's inputs that go in to make a good product,'' Priya says.

- C.M.

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