“Legendary, iconoclastic, revolutionary, master…” are some of the commonly-used adjectives to describe K Balachander, the man who broke the star-worshipping culture with which Tamil cinema was once associated with, and created a path of his own. But more than anything, KB, as he was popularly known, still holds the reputation of introducing a lot of young talent who would later become superstars in their respective fields. That rich legacy of KB is what Kavithalayaa Productions hopes to take forward through its official YouTube channel, KavithalayaaOff, which was launched on Tuesday, in the presence of R Parthiepan and Suhasini Mani Ratnam among others.
Kicking off the event, Pushpa Kandaswamy stated that the idea was to provide a platform for artists and filmmakers.
Films for the personal screen
“K Balachander Foundation was started four years back in an attempt to identify young talent in the industry. Since its inception, we have been helping them in our own little way,” said Pushpa, who has been managing operations at Kavithalayaa Productions. Sharing a deeply personal story, Kandaswamy Bharathan said that Balachander had predicted the future of cinema way back in 2013, when he expressed his desire to make movies for the “personal screen”. “He [KB] said to me, ‘I’ve written scripts for big and small screens. Now, I want to venture into the personal screen,” said Kandaswamy, elaborating, “By personal, he meant directing movies for cell phones.”
This is what drove Kavithalayaa to produce its first web series Harmony with AR Rahman , which was backed by Amazon Prime. With a beta version launched earlier in June, Kavithalayaa Productions has made its presence felt on YouTube by garnering over 5 million views in a month’s time.
“We have about 1,000 hours of content that included television serials like Marma Desam , Vidathu Karuppu , Ramani Vs Ramani and so on,” said Kandswamy, adding that Marma Desam has already grabbed eyeballs among millennials.
Kavithalayaa Productions, which has bankrolled over 50 plus films, will now produce a few web series. First up is 76 Cuts , created and directed by Saran, an erstwhile assistant to Balachander. The premise of 76 Cuts is based on KB’s struggle to get the censor certification for his Manmadha Leelai and the makers are currently in search of suitable actors to play K Balachander and Kamal Haasan. The second yet-untitled series revolves around four women from various walks of life, which will be directed by Priya V of Kanda Naal Mudhal fame. Kavithalayaa is also collaborating with RS Prasanna’s Eklavya Productions for a social-political drama called Maangal Jaakirathai , to be directed by Praveen Raghupathy.
More than a launch event, it was coming together of KB fans under one roof, one that included names like Rajesh Vaidhya, filmmakers Vasanth, Vignesh Shivn, RS Prasanna, Priya V, producer T Siva and actor Aarav. As Parthiepan perfectly put it, “It’s all about finding the KB in you.”