Inspiration springs from anything anytime for the creatively alert minds. Even from the oh-so-common granny with a beetle nut box! Can't she weave a tapestry of rich narratives embossed with traditional knowledge and embellished with fantastical fantasy?
The answer is ‘yes' if it is from Rettaisuzhi director Thamira, who took the cue from his grandmother: . “She inspired me. Her beetle nut box has thousands of princes and princesses who often transform children into the world of fantasy.” .
Born as Sheik Dawood at Moolakaraipatti near Tirunelveli, he nurtured his love for cinema especially the art of storytelling. After completing B.Sc(Zoology), he joined PG Journalism in Madurai Kamaraj University. His love for cinema and storytelling found him a job in a Tamil cinema magazine ‘Pommai.' Later, he freelanced for various cinema magazines.
“Though I love cinema, my entry into filmdom involved a series of processes,” he shares.
He started as a storyteller and found immense success like his grandma. Next he channelised his creative mind to pen down his ideas into short stories.
Sheik Dawood transformed into Thamira, after the ever flowing Thamiraparani River and published his short story collectiontitled ‘Parvathamalaiyil Rajakumari.'
His passionate search for opportunities positioned him as a dialogue and script writer for television serials like ‘Sahana,' ‘Anni' and ‘Manaivi' and many of K. Balachander's micro serials. “I was with KB sir for eight years working for these serials as script and screenplay writer,” he says.
Besides, he also penned dialogues for Tamil film ‘Poi' and screen plays for Kannada films namely ‘Amirthathare' and ‘Mathadu Mathadu Malligae.'
In KB school
His stint with KB and association with Bharathiraja during Eelam issue helped Thamira to approach and convince the doyens.
“My association with the stalwarts made my job easy and directing them gave me confidence. I could manage any crew thereafter,” he says, adding, “attitude makes the difference”.
“Good attitude make good things happen. Creativity and creation alone can not make you successful. Only when coupled with good attitude and values, it takes you to greater heights,” he asserts.
Filmmaking gave him a new experience starting from the test shoot for 500 children.. Only 22 could make it. But Rettaisuzhi is not a children's film, he quickly follows. . “It is children-centric because 22 children aged between six to 16 years have acted in it.”
“We have not created space for children's literature. . We believe in caning children and not understanding them. Any creative work for children is always aided with super natural powers,” he explains.
Are the children in the film too smart for their age? “Those who say so, I feel, have failed to observe and watch today's children and their development.”
Though the baseline of the story is a kind of cliché (feud between two families), Thamira tells his story in free-flow narrative sans twists and turns unlike other Tamil films . He says he wants his audience to leave behind their worries and heartily laugh while watching the film. “I think I have been successful,” he smiles.
Is Rettaichuzhi box-office hit? Yes, he nods. The presence stalwarts created a great hype for the film but the pirated CDs played spoil sport.
Talking about the influx of silver screen heroines into small screen and small screen directors into silver screen, Thamira says serials are like certificates for directors to gain entry into Kollywood whereas for heroines, it is commercial. People can easily associate themselves with the heroine, as they have been watching her in films.
Though Tamira believes that his 13-year-old son would have perfectly matched a character in his new project, he could not rope him in because his wife is “against their children getting grease painted.
As director, he is working on his next film ‘Aanmai Thavarel' and as writer on his next collection of short stories ‘Kuttammavin Kirukkal.' He plans to release the book before he starts shooting for his second film. Talks are also on for Telegu remake of Rettaisuzhi.
“My father tried to become a film singer in the 69s but in vain. I have made it and this is my debut as a director. In the past, I have only been dialogue, screenplay and script writer.
Signing off, he shares a secret: “Storyline in most films is the same. Only the way of narrating situations with perfect props makes the difference. And, I am determined to make that difference.”