ZIYA US SALAM

After screening his debut film “Mudhal Mudhal Mudhal Varai” at IFFI-08, director, Krishnan Seshadri Gomatam is planning a thriller.

A commercial film does not have to be illogical.

His hairstyle resembles Lord Meghnad Desai’s. His first film touched the pulse of the urban cinemagoers. Such was the thaw he experienced when he screened it at the recently concluded International Film Festival of India in Goa that he now intends to make a Hindi version of the Tamil original. The film, “Mudhal Mudhal Mudhal Varai”, had no stars, just a script, a screenplay and some fine cinematography. And a director in control. His second film promises to be a thriller, one that will have topicality about it in the wake of the Mumbai attack. It will have stars too, in fact, it may just have the biggest of them all!

Welcome to the changing world of Krishnan Seshadri Gomatam. He answers your greeting with Hare Krishna. He laughs like a man who has known no sorrow. His eyes have that spark of joy too. His words, alternately loud and low decibel, are measured. That is until he talks about his films: his first film, the critically acclaimed “Mudhal Mudhal Mudhal Varai” that is thirsty for Hindi cinemagoers; his upcoming second that will be a thriller. Then there is….well, another one. As Krishnan says, “I have several stories. I can make a film for others too. Any time, I can sit and work and develop a story. After my first film, I need a hero. I need to get across to the masses.”

Needs a Khan

So, is the man ready to crossover? From the niche to the popular? Walk the lane of well known Tamil directors who have reaped a harvest through Rajnikanth-kind of over-the-top drama?

Krishnan is quick to clear the perception. “A commercial film does not have to be illogical, it can still challenge your brains. You can attract the crowd to the box office but still show it at IFFI and elsewhere on the festival circuit.”

So, is that the formula he is using in his latest?

“It is in the early stages yet. I need a popular Khan. But the story is very contemporary. The hero plays a double role, one guy is Hindu, the other a Muslim. For a large part the film goes with the popular mood until there is a little message in the climax.”

A little pause, and he continues, “I want to go with the popular belief, make Muslim the bad guy….I want people to wonder, to get angry…but all this won’t last because our ethos is different.”

So, it is all goody-goody at the end?

“Let that be a surprise. I like to be surprised too.”

As for surprises there were plenty – not always pleasant though – in store for Krishnan as he wrapped up “M3V”, then released it without prior experience of the tricks of the marketing trade. There were a few autobiographical shades too in the film.

“Making ‘M3V’ was not a big risk. The audiences have evolved with globalisation. People like to see films similar to those coming from abroad, not just Hollywood. They have a wider exposure to different cinema thanks to satellite channels. As for my film being different from box office masala films, well, we don’t go to similar schools, we don’t dress alike. Similarly, our taste for film is different. I aimed my film at the multiplex audiences. I wanted to feel their pulse with characters that could have some autobiographical sketching but were otherwise fictional. I did not adopt a linear approach to the film, rather it was a multi-layered story and I said much through my narrative.”

Isn’t he guilty of leaving the poor cinemagoers, the rural Indians out of his purview too?

“Why should we talk of only poor Indians in cinema? Thanks to globalisation even smaller towns are developing. My movie has realism without being boring. There is hope, even in death too. And at the end of the day, every piece of cinema is for commerce too. Aamir Khan’s ‘Taare Zameen Par’ is the ultimate example of socially relevant, meaningful cinema that is commercially successful too.”

So, will his next movie be yet another take on terrorism with a politically expedient narration?

“Our values are intact. Even youngsters have their grooming in order. Why should one do something that one would not be happy about later?” Prepare for a long innings.