In the right direction
From an avid filmgoer to a popular director, Karu. Palaniappan goes down memory lane
He is adept at turning the table in his favour. He arrived in Kollywood with a bang bagging seven State awards for his maiden venture Parthiban Kanavu.
His crisp dialogues and clear screenplays won him accolades from film critics. He never fears to attempt different genres of filmmaking. How it all happened for director Karu Palaniappan? “Everything,” he smiles, “fell in place for me.” “It is not just luck. I have also put in a lot of effort.”
Though a film buff, Palaniappan had no idea about direction. His father PL. Chinna Karuppiah spotted his talent and advised him to try his hand at direction.
“My father used to give me money without any hesitation only for two things -- to buy books and to go to films. Otherwise, he is a strict disciplinarian. When I finished my post graduation I did not know what to do next. At that time My father asked me to try something new and he was the one who suggested cinema. He said that at the age of 21, I need not stick on to something. He did not want me to join him in the family business. But he gave me five years time to prove my mettle,” recalls Palaniappan.
Soon, Palaniappan learnt that cinema is not only brains. “Tasting instant success is not possible in films. But I had the confidence in me. I was also free as my father took all the financial commitments of my family. He also gave me the cushion that I am free to come back whenever I feel difficult to survive,” he says.
His first film as an assistant director was Pullakuttikaran. After a close look at life behind the screen, he realised five years was too short a period to achieve anything in tinsel town. He remembers his father stopped funding him after five years even though he tried hard to explain all about cinema to him. "He gave me just Rs.1000 as the final installment.”
Then, Palaniappan took a major decision in his life. He decided not to work as an assistant director any more. Though he was hard up for money, he refused offers from popular directors Dharani for the movie Dhool, Ezhil for the film Raja and Parthiban for Ivan.
“I could have gone to them but I was stubborn,” he says, “and I declared myself as director.”
If the world has to call me a director, I first have to believe that I am a director. I realised that I did not come to Kollywood to become a great assistant director. My dreams were to become a good director. That was the turning point,” he adds.
"I started my preparations from then on,” he says.
His decision proved to be too good. Within two years, he came out with Parthiban Kanavu and tasted stupendous success. He backed it up with a string of movies that brought him name and fame including Sathurangam, Sivapathigaram and Pirivom Santhipom.
Palaniappan handles challenging and complicated subjects with ease and flair very easily. For instance, his impeccable presentation of a schizophrenic patient in the movie Manthira Punnagai was well received.
A voracious reader, Palaniappan even thought of becoming a librarian once. makes it a point to read anything and everything. “The massive library in my college inspired me. , I thought why I can’t become a librarian. The very thought of getting paid to read books thrilled me. But I dropped the idea when I learnt that I had study Library Science to become a librarian. ”
He believes in Epicureanism and feels that selfishness is important to life. “I am not here to sacrifice my life for others. I hate hypocrisy. Only when I am in a comfort zone I can keep those depended on me in luxury. I live a happy life. I have social knowledge and I believe that I can live and make others live,” he says.
Palaniappan, busy with his new project Jannal Oram, is not the types who plan their future. He is also not the one to sit and plan for the future. “I live for the moment. For I know, before I can feel could the moment it slips into the past and the next one arrives,” he says. Every second is important for me in all aspects. No one knows what will happen in future. “Many people lose their present either talking about their past or thinking about their future,” he says, “but I am not like that.”