"I believe that a sense of humour has helped me impart some on-screen wit"
Director and actor K. Bhagyaraj is perhaps better known for his tryst with films than politics. Starting out as an actor, he switched to direction, where screenplay was his forte.
His films have been remade and dubbed in several languages, including Hindi. The actor-director talks about his experience in filmmaking and shares his thoughts on politics.
I believe that a sense of humour has helped me impart some on-screen wit.
I was working as an assistant director to my mentor Bharathiraja in "16 "Vayathinile" shot at Kollegal in Karnataka. The occasion threw up the need for someone to play the role of a doctor.
After trying out various aspirants, the director finally decided that I should don the greasepaint.
My first love was, however, filmmaking. Even for the film "Suvarila Chitirangal", I was not interested in playing the lead role. It so happened that the contracted actor backed out at the eleventh hour. The transition from an assistant to a full-fledged director was a big step to take and I debuted with "Suvarila Chitirangal".
I have directed more than 30 films in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi, and acted in several others.
A good film should not just strike gold at the box office but be remembered for time to come both by the artistes and the viewers.
Actor Amitabh Bachchan's list of favourite films includes my directorial venture in Hindi, "Aakhri Rastha". I wish that happens in all the languages that I direct films in.
Films like "Mozhi" and "Paruthi Veeran" strike a chord with some of my films.
I feel the emotions are same, whether it is yesterday, today or tomorrow.
From "Suvarila Sithirangal" to "Parijatham", and experiments in between in "Oru Kai Osai" or "Mouna Geethangal", it is difficult to shortlist my favourites. "Antha 7 Natkal", which ran well wherever it was screened, was remade in Hindi recently and got an award as well. "Thooral Ninupochu" and Mundhanai Mudichu" would also make it to my list.
My favourite directors include Sridhar, Bhimsingh, Pandulu, K. Balachander, and of course Bharathiraja. The acting stalwarts include MGR, Sivaji, Chandrababu for comedy, Balaiyah and S.V. Rangarao, Savithri and Padmini.
The then Chief Minister MGR chose me as his successor in films. I went on to join MGR's party. But, I felt that there were forces trying to blacken his reputation. So I quit and kept away from politics.
Only in the last Assembly elections did I re-enter the political field by joining the party headed by the present Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.
He is to me a father figure, a charismatic politician and a benevolent Chief Minister.
Future goals include making at least one film in every Indian language.