Director Samuthirakani’s views on solving problems in society are reflected in ‘Jenda Pai Kapiraju’

The director of Sambho Siva Sambho (Nadodigal in Tamil) Samuthirakani is back with a bilingual. His movie Jenda Pai Kapiraju (Nimirndhu Nil in Tamil) starring Nani and Amala Paul in Telugu (the Tamil version has Jeyam Ravi as hero) is in the making. Ask him why he took so long to start this project and he says that all his time was taken up by Yaare Koogadali, a Kannada film which is apparently a remake of Porali (Sangharshana in Telugu). After nearly three years the director is back in Hyderabad shooting for the Telugu version. So what does Jenda Pai Kapiraju mean? The title is symbolic of victory — it shows an image of Hanuman from the Kurukshetra war; in tamil it more or less means the same, Nimmirndhu Nil means ‘stand straight or boldly’.

Samuthirakani has acted in around 13 films, but these days he takes it up only if it has some meaning, some substance like the ones in Saatai and Neerparavai. “If someone comes to me and says the role is important and will get critical acclaim, I will take it up otherwise my priority has always been to direct films. Jenda Pai Kapiraju is a take on the society. We face numerous problems and most of them are an outcome of someone’s wrong doing. My screenplay comes from day-to-day incidents I have been reading in newspapers; in other words Jenda Pai Kapiraju is from the content I took from six months of reading newspapers. My story was completed.”

He adds, “I wish to tell people to first correct themselves, then automatically the society will be set right, no point in blaming every person when there are so many flaws within ourselves. We see a signboard, ‘No smoking, Smoking is injurious to health’ but we continue to smoke. We speak on cell phones while driving, we park our cars at a ‘no-parking’ zone, in a one way road... We deliberately use the forbidden road. All these rules are meant for the paper, no one practices it. Go past a traffic signal, you will take a long time to see a happy face, all you find is problems. In fact my first scene in the film is directly related to it. The entire audience will relate to these problems and each one of them will say ‘I went through this’ or ‘this is my story.’

But hasn’t such a plot been dealt with earlier? Has the director made an attempt to correct himself if at all he had erred? He says very confidently that a little extension in his stories makes his work stand out from the rest. Nadodigal too had the same love story, fights, rebellion etc but it became popular because of his special touch. Samuthirakani quips, “We all need to have a small social responsibility. Since everyone is going through a wrong route we too think it is right to follow them, because it is the most accepted thing. If we go through a right route, people will look upon us as fools. So even if it is wrong, we tend to do it because it is the most accepted and everyone is doing it — I showed it in the first scene. The hero is very sincere till the last, the problems he faces are interesting. Nani hails from a middle class family, studies in Ramakrishna Mission and also in a Christian missionary for five years, he is well versed with the Quran, Bible and the Gita. But all his good qualities don't help him at all. He battles within himself between good and bad. Whether it is Nani or Jeyam Ravi, I get into their psyche and extract what I want from them.”

The director signs off saying he started correcting himself when he sat down to write the script; by the time the film is wrapped, he will be a completely changed person, he assures. His next film is with Sasi Kumar, it is also a bilingual and the hero in Telugu has not been finalised whereas Puneet Raj Kumar will be the lead artiste in Kannada. The shoot will carry on in Hyderabad from December 28 to January 7. Sugumar of Gaja Raju Kumki is the cinematographer.