Second shot

Lakshmy Ramakrishnan  

Lakshmy Ramakrishnan is a unique filmmaker. She doesn’t watch films. She doesn’t read books either. “Books, especially long ones, intimidate me, and as for films, I wasn’t allowed to watch them when I was a child,” she says. To her credit, she understands the shortcomings of not consuming literature and cinema. “I make up for it by observing people and studying them,” she says. Despite this, she is inexplicably drawn to filmmaking. “I have always been intrigued by the idea that all individuals have their own back stories; that could explain my interest in direction.”

Her first real opportunity to make films came in the 80s, when she was asked to direct short films for television. Destiny, however, had other plans. She moved to Muscat with her husband for more than a decade, returning to Chennai only in 2001. “A few years later, I realised I had more freedom than I had ever had,” she says. “My children were in school. My husband continued to live in Muscat. My love for filmmaking was roused again.” This time, she made seven short films and used her experience as event manager to get them telecast on various channels. She is quite critical of these films, though. “I was not even aware of shot division (the sequence of different shots in a scene),” she says. “That said, my last short was significantly better than the first.”

Acting opportunities too came along, and before long she was playing character roles in movies made by filmmakers such as Mysskin, Gautham Menon and Cheran. Almost 30 films later, her first film as director, Aarohanam, came about in 2012. Widely appreciated for its treatment of the serious topic of bipolar disorder, “it was a film watched mostly by the elite,” she says. “I have done things differently in my second to ensure it doesn’t attract only one section of the audience,” she says.

Now, two years after Aarohanam, Lakshmy has wrapped up work on Nerungi Vaa… Muthamidathe ( NVM). The movie, shot in 70 days, is her refusal to be typecast. “I have made a conscious attempt to make it appealing to the masses,” she says, revealing that NVM is about a series of incidents that happen on a single day of a petrol crisis, stories seen by the protagonist while driving in a lorry. “The darkness of Aarohanam has been done away with. This film will be breezy, bright and pleasant. It’s for everybody.”

Lakshmy may lack technical expertise, but takes pride in her ability to extract strong performances from her actors. “Take Viji Chandrashekar’s performance in Aarohanam, for example,” she says. “I seem to have a natural ability to get the best out of actors.” She also admits to being influenced by Mysskin a lot. “I love his approach to filmmaking,” she explains. “He is unaffected by rules. Perhaps influenced by him, I find that when I want a particular shot, I get it, regardless of what the books say.”

Director Shankar’s movies are known for their extravagance and larger-than-life stories. Mysskin’s have slow scenes and a significant absence of songs. What’s unique about Lakshmy’s films?

“My boundless energy and enthusiasm,” she says. “My genuine love for stories, which spills out through my films. The way I pour my heart out through my stories. These are my touches.”

Nerungi Va… Muthamidathe is slated for release in early September, with post-production now on in full swing.

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 1:41:00 AM |

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