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‘KD’ is a light-hearted take on ‘thalaikoothal’: Director Madhumita

A still from ‘KD’

A still from ‘KD’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

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Madhumita on winning the Jury Award at the Singapore South Asian International Film Festival

Madhumita Sundararaman almost disappeared after her third film, Moone Moonu Varthai, released in 2015.

Ask her what she was up to in the years in between, she says, “Well, I did something called Bigg Boss Tamil (Season 1).” She attributes the success of season one to the novelty factor involved in it. “Kamal sir and we decided to make it authentic. It was the first time for everyone, and we didn’t want to pull any kind of stunts just to boost TRPs,” says Madhumita.

Directing Kamal Haasan in the reality show was nothing short of a nostalgic trip to childhood for her, as they both had one common connection — K Balachander. “After each episode, Kamal sir used to share memories of how KB sir directed, and how Nagesh and Ranga Rao acted. He spoke about the days when cinema was made with passion,” she adds.

She has a point. For, her upcoming KD Engira Karuppudurai is the kind of movie Balachander would have made, if he were around. Excerpts from an interview:

What prompted you to make KD?

Four years ago, I came across an article about thalaikoothal in Virudhunagar, Madurai. It is a kind of euthanasia for older people where they give them an extensive massage, bathe them in cold water and offer lots of tender coconut, causing renal and kidney failure. I wanted to address this phenomena, but was apprehensive about the approach. I met people to understand the two sides of the coin. KD, in fact, is partly inspired by my grandfather, who was 94 when he fractured his leg.

Madhumita won the Jury Award at Singapore South Asian International Film Festival

Madhumita won the Jury Award at Singapore South Asian International Film Festival   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Would you say that it is by far your most serious film?

I have always chosen diverse subjects. KD is still a light-hearted take on the issue, and it is not dark. That is a catch, right? Whenever you mention thalaikoothal, people would automatically think: ‘Oh, it is going to be a dark film’.

It has a strong sense of humour because it tells the story through the eyes of an eight-year-old.

The premise reminds me of another Tamil indie movie, Baaram, which won the National Award this year...

I have heard about Baaram. In fact, it was playing at the same festival. From what I hear, she [Priya Krishnaswamy] comes from a documentary background, and I am aware of the stand she has taken. But KD is entirely different. It will make you forget the fact that it is about thalaikoothal. My character learns to live because he is forced to die. That is where KD comes alive.

Meaning... you have not taken a stand?

No. When I first wrote the script, it had a different ending. Interestingly, just before the shoot, I thought I should change it because it seemed as if I was subscribing to the practice. As a filmmaker, I have remained neutral to the issue without justifying it or claiming that it is wrong.

Do festivals help in generating the initial push for a small-scale movie?

Definitely. Though we try to avoid the elephant in the room, the fact, however, remains that the audience wants to see stars on screen. Film festivals are the only other way to bring them to the theatres. In a way, festivals also give you the recognition that your content is worth spending money on.

Have you started working on your next?

Yes, I have. I am a consultant for SonyLIV, authorising web content in Tamil. I have locked a script in Hindi, which is a romantic-comedy revolving around three characters. I have also pitched content in the action genre for the digital space. Barring this, there is also a Telugu drama that I will be doing for one of the leading OTT platforms.

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Printable version | Nov 22, 2019 1:35:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/madhumita-on-directing-kd/article29556381.ece

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