“I once contemplated turning into a Naxalite or a politician. I wanted to find some way to question injustice and corruption. Should I take up a gun or a knife? Should I write poetry or take to art? I decided to make films,” was filmmaker A.R.Muragadoss’ candid revelation on his return to his alma mater – Bishop Heber College – in Tiruchi.
In an address that was soul-baring, motivational, and reflective in parts, the director of blockbusters such as ‘Dheena’, ‘Ghajini’, ‘Ramana’ and the recent ‘Ezham Arivu’, recounted his days as a student of B.A. History in the college.
The celebrity alumnus was at the college to felicitate a NSS contingent of 60 students and three staff, headed by senior NSS programme officer P.Rajkumar, who walked for 12 days from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi to recreate the historic Dandi March.
‘Never won a single contest’
“I believe that a film can bring is social change just like a photograph changed the course of the Vietnam War.” All his movies he pointed out had a stirring message to convey and the inspiration stemmed from his college days. “My professors always made it a point to talk about contemporary issues, corruption, and inequalities while teaching history in the classroom.”
The discussions were the crux of his formative years on college and transformed him from a reticent kid with an inferiority complex to an angry student who wanted to question the wrongs. Quoting from his Vijayakanth starrer ‘Ramana’, he said ‘A nation’s fate is in the hands of its students.”
Alluding to the re-enactment of the Dandi March, he said, “It is not enough to retrace Gandhi’s footsteps, we have to achieve what he finally did – freedom. In our case, freedom from corruption.”
Murugadoss had the young audience applauding every nostalgic reference to his salad days spent in Tiruchi. “I participated in many inter collegiate competitions, but I never won a single one. I represented the losing side back then, but today I am an achiever I have always hoped I would meet or read about those who won the first, second, and third prizes. They were much more talented than me but they did not take the risk.”
He urged students not to settle for routine jobs or remain contented with leading an ordinary life. “Take a risk. Do something different. When you take a risk, there is a 50-50 chance than you may win or lose. But if you don’t, your life is a 100 per cent failure.”
P. Kumar, Member of Parliament, honoured the team who re-enacted the Dandi march. Mr. Rajkumar, recorded the journey fraught with emotions and challenges through a montage. Saha, radio jockey, Hello FM, appealed to Murugadoss to translate patriotic gestures of heroes of the Kargil War and 26/11 attacks on celluloid to inject patriotism into youth.