‘Four Frames is my baby’

Superstar Rajinikanth at Le Magic Lantern for Kabali dubbing

Superstar Rajinikanth at Le Magic Lantern for Kabali dubbing

A change in name always takes some time getting used to. Lissy—Lissy Priyadarshan for almost 24 years—is now Lissy Lakshmi, after her “long and ugly” divorce from director Priyadarshan. But sometimes, when asked for her signature, she still absentmindedly scribbles her old name. That’s why she has a lot of sympathy for people who refer to the preview theatre that she has now taken ownership of by its old name: Four Frames. She has rechristened it Le Magic Lantern. “Projectors in the 18th Century were called magic lanterns,” she explains.

The rigours of running this theatre that she acquired on April 1 aren’t really a challenge. Right from the time the facility was called Good Luck Theatre, Lissy has helped supervise both Four Frames Preview Theatre and Four Frames Sound Company, which Priyadarshan now owns (Lissy doesn’t mind it as she’s more sentimental about the preview theatre).

Lissy is thrilled at being able to run Le Magic Lantern, whose dubbing studio “compares with no other facility in the city. That’s why Rajini sir is here, dubbing for Kabali as we speak.” She has a lot of plans. “I want to make the theatre more accessible for small-time filmmakers; I want to bring actors and directors from other industries here, and make it possible for Chennaiites to interact with them.” This week, for example, she’s bringing in the team that made the Malayalam film, Jacobinte Swargarajyam , including director Vineeth Sreenivasan and actor Nivin Pauly. Lissy is a people’s person. That’s why she enjoyed putting together the Kerala Strikers cricket team, with actors like Mohanlal and Asif Ali. That’s why she floated the idea of an ’80s meet, and managed, with Suhasini, to bring in actors like Rajinikanth and Chiranjeevi.

The event has now become an annual affair, with the seventh meet scheduled later this year. “I think it’s important that actors stay in touch. Death shouldn’t be the only event that brings us together.” She envisions Le Magic Lantern as a venue that forms friendships.

She’s getting acting offers again. “I’m open to acting now; I’m not married anymore.” She knows she can’t play a heroine (she starred in Kamal Haasan’s Vikram ), but doesn’t just want to settle for stereotypical mother-in-law characters. Towards the end of the conversation, she excuses herself and shouts out a few instructions to an assistant: something about a thin microphone needed to record audio for a scene in Kabali . “I need to show them that I can handle things.” That’s why Lissy dutifully arrives at nine in the morning and stays till late evening, every day. “This theatre is now my baby, and I intend to treat it like one.”

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Printable version | May 13, 2022 7:33:24 am |