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Tamil writers’ entry into films, a ‘healthy trend’

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S. Ramakrishnan
S. Ramakrishnan

B.Kolappan

It gave financial security for a full-time writer

CHENNAI: Tracing the elements of the correlation between great literature in Tamil and commercial cinema is an agonising task. But Tamil writers, beginning from P.S.Ramaiah and Pudumaipithan to Sujatha to a crop of young modern writers, have been proving that they are not miles apart. Today the literature-cinema bond is increasingly getting strengthened.

Prominent among the faces in the invitation for the audio launch of the film Naan Kadavul is critically acclaimed Tamil writer Jayamohan. He has penned the dialogues for the film. Of course it is not his first venture.

“I never had any aversion for popular cinema. In fact I have keenly watched movies,” said Jayamohan and described the entry of the Tamil writers into the film world as a “healthy trend.”

He then recalled the trend in the 1980s when serious Tamil writers came forward to write for the popular Tamil magazines.

“It changed the readers’ perception. Today even an ordinary reader knows Pudumaipitthan. The trend galvanised the Tamil publishing industry which publishes around 12,000 books per year,” he said.

He, however, acknowledged the limitations of a creative writer in the film world. “So I don’t have any illusions,” he quipped.

Noted writer S. Ramakrishnan pointed out that writing and film making were two different areas.

“Creative literature is an individual effort while film making is team work. Still there is a link,” he explained. He has so far worked for eight films including Rajinikanth’s Baba.

A film buff who closely follows world cinema, Mr. Ramakrishnan, said his foray into the entirely different medium was easy, thanks to his friends.

“But I had my apprehensions because I know the film world is completely driven by commercial considerations. Will I have freedom? Will it give adequate space for my creativity? While keeping these aspects in my mind I also asked myself why I fail to understand popular taste and cinema. I continue to explore, but the vital point of popular cinema still eludes me,” agreed Ramakrishnan.

Both Jayamohan and Ramakrishnan argued there were directors like Bala who were constantly updating their knowledge of the Tamil literary world and trends in it.

“Who else will come forward to use my novel Ezhaam Ulagam other than Bala,” asked Jayamohan.

Ramakrishnan said he was being approached by many young directors who wanted to make films with strong stories such as Subramaniyapuram and Veyil.

“I prefer to work with young directors as they are open to ideas,” he said.

The two writers also admitted that the film world gave financial security for a full-time writer.

“It is like a college teacher donning the role of a creative writer. Why not me,” asked Ramakrishnan.

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