Films should be a reference point for posterity, says actor-director K. Bhagyaraj
Down movie lane: Actor couple K. Bhagyaraj and Poornima Pic. by S. Siva Saravanan
TALKING TO filmmaker K. Bhagyaraj is quite an experience.
The storyteller in him comes out in full flow as the conversation progresses. Little incidents, anecdotes and unforgettable moments you get to hear them all from the master narrator.
The man who managed to weave magic on the big screen with his astute screenplay, strong storylines and punchy dialogue takes us on a trip down movie lane.
"I draw inspiration from real life and past experiences," he says. His wife Poornima nods in agreement.
Though Bhagyaraj had a fascination for films from a young age he never thought he would don the greasepaint.
While working as an assistant director to Bharathiraaja he did cameo roles (remember the postman in Padhinaaru Vayadhinile and the waiter in Sigappu Rojakkal?).
"The roles gave me a lot of confidence. Bharathiraaja was convinced that I could act well. So, he cast me in the lead role in Pudhiya Vaarpugal," the actor-director reminisces.
When Bhagyaraj decided to turn his attention to filmmaking he thought his tryst with acting had all but ended. But that was not to be.
While directing his debut film Suvarilladha Sithirangal (with Sudhakar in the lead), the artiste who was to play an important role failed to turn up.
So, he had to do the all too `familiar act' again. And there has been no looking back since then.
Ask him how he managed to come up with interesting screenplays, and he says: "I started writing plays in school. I even used to suggest corrections to plays written by my seniors. My teachers also encouraged me. This provided the base for writing screenplay," he explains.
His take on filmmaking: "Observation is very important in cinema. Even a small incident is a big inspiration for me. People should be able to relate to the on-screen characters. That's why my movies were based on stories that occurred in the neighbourhood."
Each of his films is different. Was it a conscious decision?
"Yes. In most of my movies there is no main villain. There is a problem of villainy in the life of the protagonist. People liked it."
Bhagyaraj who made a mark with a series of films in the 1980s does not make movies often these days. Is it due to the change in trends?
"The trend hasn't changed. Only the audiences have changed. Today it is the youth who come to see movies in theatres," he counters.
But does he think that his genre of films will still click at the box office?
"Even now directors continue to make movies that resemble mine. Take `Autograph' for instance. It is a simple story narrated beautifully. The styles may vary. But the concept is the same," he states.
"Simple, well-made films will always be liked by people. I make it a point to get the script ready before I start shooting. Otherwise you will end up losing time, money and a lot of film," he points out.
Bhagyaraj has directed veterans such as Sivaji Ganesan and Amitabh Bachchan. What was the experience like?
"If you are technically sound and good at your job, then there will not be much of a problem."
"Every director should bring new talent to the limelight. Your creations should be like a syllabus. The next generation of filmmakers should be able to learn from it," he avers.
Send this article to Friends by