When cinematographer Ravivarman got a call from actor-director Pandiarajan to discuss a short film on the mindset of a visually challenged young man, he was surprised because for more than two years Ravi has been working extensively on a project which will have eye donation as the crux. “Pandiarajan told me the concept in one line and that was enough for me to decide that I would crank the camera, write the screenplay and also be its producer,” says Ravi. Titled ‘Azhagu’ the film, which has just begun its festival rounds, has already tasted success. It has been selected for the short film competition at the second CMS International Children’s Film Festival in Lucknow that opens on April 6.
“We take our faculties for granted. But each of the senses is a boon, particularly sight! As a cinematographer the importance of vision has always been on my mind. I’ve been surfing the net, talking to the visually challenged and collecting data for a documentary I plan to shoot,” begins Ravivarman, whose impressive repertoire includes imposing projects, such as, ‘Anniyan,’ ‘Vaettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu’ and ‘Villu.’
“‘Azhagu’ isn’t preachy. It’s just a six-minute short, which makes a strong point. Organ donations are generally made by the aged or by the kith and kin of accident victims, who allow the organs of the deceased to be harvested. But awareness about such donations seems much less among youngsters. Do you generally come across youths registering their names for such donations,” asks Ravivarman. “So Pandiarajan said we’ll concentrate on this aspect and with his experience as director I knew that he can’t be off the mark,” he says. The concept of ‘Azhagu’ is Pandiarajan’s, and he is its director too.
Pandiarajan’s son Prithvirajan, who has played hero in a couple of films, is the visually challenged youngster in ‘Azhagu.’ “We rehearsed for a whole day and canned it in one go,” says Prithvirajan. When Pandiarajan and Ravivarman were discussing the short film, Prithvi happened to be around. Ravi noticed Prithvi, told him to have a shave and come back to him. “He just took half hour to return all set for the task,” smiles Ravi.
Pandiarajan’s first short, ‘Magan,’ also garnered honours. It was selected for the short film festival in Hyderabad. “My brother Premarajan acted in it,” says Prithvi. “Dad and Ravivarman decided that for a better impact a person with eyesight ought to play the part, and as I can easily pull my eyeballs inside so that only the white area is seen, they found me suitable,” says Prithvi.