“Awards don’t matter to me,” says director Jayam Raja, who is close to finishing his next script
Director Jayam Raja has an enviable record when it comes to delivering hits. The undisputed Raja of remakes is someone who does not allow extraneous factors to cloud his sense of judgment and this has helped him deliver hits consistently (remember his last film the Vijay-starrer Velayudham too was a success) in an industry notorious for the number of flops it churns out.
His record is no doubt impeccable and his efforts, admirable. However, his detractors have for long tried to deny him his fair share of glory by claiming his creations are only remakes of already successful films. Says the well-known director, who is the son of Editor Mohan and the brother of actor Jayam Ravi: “My father is my guru and I think I have inherited his producer’s mentality as well. I am someone who believes a film should at least be able to recover the amount invested in it. Today, out of hundreds of films that release every year, hardly 10 make the cut at the box office. Of these, a considerable number are remakes. Every film of mine has ensured a win-win situation for everyone involved. I give the audiences who come to watch my film an entertaining time, thereby ensuring the producer, distributors and theatre owners get their money back.”
Contrary to what his detractors’ think, making a remake is not easy, claims Raja and continues, “because it has to be better than the original and anything less will only invite scathing criticism. It is like taking care of another person’s child.”
Explains Raja, “My films have been successful because of the choices I made and not because they were remakes. I had umpteen options to choose from, but took up only those that I thought would work as remakes. Before making a film, I ask myself, ‘Why should people see this?’ Only if I am able to come up with a convincing answer, do I go ahead and make it into a film. In the end, audiences don’t care if it is a remake or a straight film. They want good entertainers. Awards don’t matter to me. For me, audiences come first.”
The director is busy finishing his next script, which, he says, will be a straight one, not a remake.
Smiles Raja, “It’s not as if I am making it to silence my critics. I am someone who does what appeals to me and this film is the outcome of an idea that has been driving me for the last four or five years.”
But won’t he give us details about the film? “I can only say it will be a story that has not been told before. An action thriller, I’ll let the idea of the film take its own course. I am considering casting either Jayam Ravi, Arya or Jiiva in Tamil and Junior NTR and Prabhas in Telugu.”