MALATHI RANGARAJAN

Satyaraj will don a very different and challenging role in Jayabharathy's `Kurukshetram.'

The National Award that Chandrasekar won for his realistic portrayal of a quadriplegic i n filmmaker Jayabharathy's `Nanba ... Nanba,' has inspired quite a few of our actors here. Hopefully, a healthy trend in Tamil cinema has been ushered in. Prominent among such actors is Satyaraj. "I may do completely commercial cinema today, but I am th e same Satyaraj who received accolades for my performance in `Kadalora Kavidhaigal' and `Vedham Pudhidhu' ... As an actor I yearn to do such roles," the actor had said with a rueful grin, when you met him last. Satyaraj's yearning is in the process of b ecoming a reality. The actor is playing the lead in Jayabharathy's `Kurukshetram.' "Satyaraj is an artiste with immense potential. `Kurukshetram' will be his 170th film. But you should see his discipline on the sets! Actors of his stature would probably give suggestions to the director. Not Satyaraj. It has been total compliance and implicit obedience throughout. And what amazing spontaneity he has! Without make up and with wonderful underplay, he is doing a remarkable job," says a jubilant Jayabharath y. The unit has just returned from a stint in Yercaud. Just 10 more days of work is left before they wrap up shoot. Jayabharathy was planning to make `Irandu Paer Vaanathai Paarkiraargal,' but it is `Kurukshetram' that he has begun. "I'll go back to it s oon," he smiles. About the choice of Yercaud as location Jayabharathy says, "I've taken up a national issue. The actors and places symbolise something significant. For example, in keeping with the theme the protagonist lives in Mata Nagar."

Talented cast

Roja is the heroine of `Kurukshetram.' Then you have `Thalaivaasal' Vijay, `Bharati' Mani and the young boy Sachin, who played Satyaraj's son in `Vanakkam Thalaiv a.' "A very talented child he is. National recognition could come his way," commends Jayabharathy. Why Roja? "I heard about her interest in off-beat cinema. And she's extremely photogenic," he tells you. Satyaraj and Roja, you hear, play a couple with tw o children. "They suit the roles perfectly," says Jayabharathy. It's a surprise when Jayabharathy adds that `Thalaivaasal' Vijay is his find. "I had approached Nasser for my `Uchchi Veiyyil.' He was very busy and suggested Vijay to me instead. He was Vij ayakumar then. `He's very talented. You can try him out,' Nasser told me. And I did. That was way back in 1992. Now again `Thalaivaasal' Vijay has done some excellent work in `Kurukshetram." Jayabharathy is excited about the potential of his artistes. "I am very comfortable working with them," he adds. K. M. Rajendra, Kannada actor and producer, is funding `Kurukshetram.' Rajendra's role of villain in `Kurukshetram,' will mark his entry into Tamil cinema. "He's wonderful both as producer and actor," ce rtifies Jayabharathy. Has he made compromises to make `Kurukshetram,' commercially viable? "Not at all. But it does have commercial elements relevant to the script. It is sure to create ripples," states a confident Jayabharathy. "An emotional drama of t he abstract genre, the film will have two lovely songs tuned by Isaac Thomas Kottukapally. Suresh Urs is the editor. For cameraman A. Karuppiah `Kurukshtetram' will be his debut attempt," he informs. With actors Vivek and Napoleon also evincing interest in parallel cinema, Jayabharathy is bound to have his hands full. And that augurs well for Tamil cinema. But before that this impressive Satyaraj product is being planned as a Tamil New Year release.