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Ravichandran on how he got into Tamil films

S.R. Ashok Kumar

"When I came to Madras in 1963, I was asked to see director Sridhar who was on the lookout for a new face"



Ravichandran...actor turned director

A veteran in the field of cinema, Ravichandran has carved a niche for himself in Tamil movies. It so happens that people always identify two personalities in each era of film history. In olden days, it was M.K. Thygaraja Bagavathar and P.U. Chinnapa, followed by MGR and Sivaji Ganesan. It was Jaishankar and Ravichandran in the second half of 60's. Ravichandran has now directed a film in which his son Hamsavardhan is cast as hero. Here Ravichandran talks about his early days in the industry, his likes and dislikes and his present directorial venture "Mandiran".

Though I am from Tiruchi, I stayed and studied in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I came to India in 1951 for my sister's marriage. After the marriage I visited Madras before returning to Malaysia.

I came again to attend my brother's marriage. During that visit, my father asked me whether I was interested in staying back and studying. I said `Yes'. I had studied in English medium and my second language was Malay. But my father would ask me to write two pages of English and Tamil from newspapers everyday. It was perhaps because of this that I could top in the Tamil Sangam examination.

I studied in St. Joseph College, Tiruchi. I played almost all games, especially tennis and basketball.

After my Pre-University exams I wanted to become a doctor. But my fate changed after a sudden attack of chicken pox. My face was full of spots. When I came to Madras in 1963 I was asked to see director Sridhar who was on the lookout for a new face. I was chosen to do a lead role in "Kadhalikka Neramillai" which was released on February 27, 1964.

The film became a hit and the offers began to pour in. Some of the films I like include "Athe Kangal", "Nan", "Mundrezhthu" and Kumarippenn".

My favourite artists in Tamil are Sivaji Ganesan, MGR, Jayalalithaa and K.R.Vijaya.

After working in more than 150 films, and as a hero in a majority of them, I wanted to direct a film. My son Hamsavardhan became my first hero in "Manaseega Kadhal". That film was credited in my real name P.S. Raman. The film was released in 1999 and got rave reviews.

It was my second directorial venture, "Mandiran" that was credited to my film name. It was a film with a message.

I feel that my family including my son has helped me a great deal. Another son Balaji is the executive producer.

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