"I’ve made the new Jaganmohini for the entire family"
You started as a cinematographer, but later switched to direction. Weren’t you happy being behind the lens?
The camera is my first love. When I was working on Shankarlal, my friend and director T. N. Balu died. At the instance of Kamal Haasan, hero of the film, I directed it. I have so far done 120 films as a cameraman and 11 as a director. My twelfth film is Jaganmohini, produced by H. Murali for Murali Cine Arts, to be released on Deepavali day.
What inspired you to become a director?
Many in the industry, heroes and producers, urged me to take up direction. Besides, the Film Institute products were happy with the ideas I had suggested on filmmaking. This resulted in Abaavanan and his unit entrusting their first film Inaintha Kaigal to me. Even as I was working on it, Sangili Murugan requested me to direct another film — it was finished in one schedule and released before Inaintha Kaigal.
Jaganmohini is more than two decades old. Will such a film click at the box office now?
While the earlier Jaganmohini is a zamindar’s story, the new one is about kings and queens. The highlight here is graphics and the industry is aware that I’m good at trick shots. Except the title and one scene where the heroine places her feet in fire, the rest of the new Jaganmohini is different. It has all the ingredients that will appeal to the present day audience.
Can you compare Jayamalini with Namitha?
Vitalacharya’s Jaganmohini mainly titillated the audience. The new Jaganmohini is for the entire family. While Jayamalini’s role focussed on her dancing abilities, here Namitha has a meaty part to play besides flaunting her glamour quotient. Sword fights, period costumes and magic tricks too will make watching the film enjoyable.
s. r. ashok kumar