“Cinema-kaaga arrear vechavan naan” (I am someone who had arrears in college for the sake of cinema), says K. Selvaganapathy. On Thursday, the aspiring cinematographer will sit for his first class at the M.G.R. Government Film and Television Institute in Taramani here.
With some experience in still photography and in cinematography during his student days, the BCA graduate from Cuddalore has for long been dreaming of holding the camera and framing that shot in what he deems the right angle and lighting.
“If I had taken the conventional route, I would have done my MCA and got a job in some software company. That did not excite me. My parents also knew that I'll invariably land here. So they do not really mind,” he says.
The nearly-70 students waiting at the Institute on Wednesday were there to realise a dream they have been nurturing for years. They were selected from around 700 who had applied, after a written examination and interview.
If P.C. Sreeram is Selvaganapathy's hero, Sinthura Shankar has grown up watching Mani Ratnam. Selected for the Direction and Screenplay Writing course, she wants to be “fully equipped”. Her parents and younger brother were patiently waiting with the director-to-be. “I wanted to become one [a director], but could not. So I am very happy for my daughter,” says G.N. Shankar, her father, who is a marketing executive with a private firm.
P. Kothandam and K. Anjulatcham of Villupuram, also think their son Ravi should pursue what he enjoys most. “I have no issue with him choosing this field. As long as he is happy, I am,” says Mr. Kothandam, who is a farmer.
Parents have little reason to worry, for the film and television fields have several opportunities, according to faculty of the Institute. “Some of the finest technicians in the field are alumni of this institute,” says R. Sridharan, principal.
A total of 14 students have been admitted to each of the five courses offered – Direction and Screenplay writing, Cinematography, Sound Recording, Film Editing and Film Processing. While 12 seats are for students applying from within Tamil Nadu, one seat in every course is reserved for the son or daughter of a technician in the industry and another, for a student applying from other States.
S. Bojaraj, Head of Film Editing Section (in-charge), says students of the Institute have a great track record in national-level contests. “There is no point in training students to be mere operators of equipment. We have to bring out their creativity and this Institute does that very well,” he says.
That is perhaps why Pabba Durgalingam came all the way from Warangal to admit his son Banulakshman. “He has been interested in sound from his childhood. I am very excited that he got in to this reputed Institute,” says the father.