Y. SUNITA CHOWDHARY

Nagender's first takes up unconventional relationships.

The best minds in the creative field are known to have certain feminine qualities. These men are able to broach any topic with sensitivity and communicate it to their target audience, with the help of impeccable performance from their actors. Cinematographer turned director Nagender Kumar belongs to this league. His first film Tanu centres on female relationships, an area that's rarely explored in contemporary Telugu cinema. This bold tale revolves around women who have strong and distinguished roles to play. It shows the immense courage of a daughter to take an unconventional decision and a mother's struggle to accept the decision that would change the lives of two people forever. Nagender says, "The subject was so risky that none of the actresses we approached agreed. Suhasini was the only one who grabbed the offer. Tanmayi or Tanu, played by Archana, suited the role to the hilt. Sivaji Raja as the middle-aged hero showed the insight and sensitivity to grasp human nature and that helped in creating an honest character."Forty three-year-old Nagender says art house cinema always fascinated him for its honesty, simplicity and universal appeal. His favourite is the Kannada film Ranganayaki, which released two decades ago. The story revolves around a mother and son who fall in love with each other. Adds Nagender, "Though my film has commercial elements, there is a touch of art to it. A lot of people discouraged me from going ahead with Tanu. The subject is such that I had to first entertain, and then educate the audience before experimenting with the core subject. Plunging into the theme straight away would hurt some people, and they may not accept the film. Extracting performances from seasoned and mature artistes like Suhasini and Sivaji Raja is not an easy task. They might make minute mistakes but the onus is on us to draw the best out of them."During the audio release, Suhasini compared Nagender with veteran K. Balachander and added that like Balachander, Nagender too had made a fantastic film. Nagender considers this as the best compliment he ever received. The renowned Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman once said, "The responsibility of an artiste is to open the wounds of society. The wounds cannot be healed without being opened. The artist should never be restricted by social dogmas when involved in his creation." Like his films, what he says also holds true for any society. Tanu's sensitive and realistic approach to an intimate and emotional relationship is sure to appeal to film-goers.