‘Matravai Naeril’ which included people who had never stood in front of the camera before, was a hit, and I was thrilled How it happened
My second film, Matravai Naeril, was my first break. Actually neither acting nor direction was my goal when I got a chance to venture into cinema. I just wanted to be a writer. But when a producer approached me to make one of my plays into a film and offered me direction too, I took it up. I’ve not worked as assistant director to anybody. But Ivargal Vidhyasamaanavargal, my debut, proved commercially viable. And the best part is I got Matravai … even before Ivargal … was completed, probably because I was already a popular playwright and actor on stage.
How it feltMatravai Naeril, which had a new cast, including people who had never stood in front of the camera before, was a sensational hit, and I was thrilled. It dealt with the issue of unemployment. It completed 100 days in three cinemas in the city! Those were the days when huge film banners on Mount Road were a novelty. We had a 30x40 feet hoarding of an envelope, with a card peeping out of it, which simply read Matravai Naeril (‘Rest, in person’). It helped, and how!
How life changed
Theatre had to be relegated to the background. I became a busy director in Tamil and to my surprise, in Telugu cinema too. I don’t accept acting assignments often, because much time is lost and I don’t wish to spoil the name I made on stage. Films such as Pirivom Sandhipom are an exception. A new Telugu film which I’m directing for Dasari Narayana Rao is being launched next week. And on the cards is a Tamil project.