This character artist's first love is direction

Santhana Bharathi

Santhana Bharathi  

S.R. Ashok Kumar

"I dream of getting the coveted national best director award. I am making efforts to make that dream come true"

Santhana Bharathi started his film career as a director and then switched to acting. He is now a full time actor. Both as director and actor he made a mark for himself, and he is now called upon to do some of the best character roles in films as well as television serials. Santhana Bharathi talks about his acting and his first love direction.

I am an open person, and when I see anyone in trouble I will be the first to help him or her out.

My father, M.R. Santhanam, had acted in the Boys Company. He later became a producer, and made some of Sivaji Ganesan's best films. In fact, he was called the `shadow of Sivaji' as they were seen together often. One of the popular films he produced was `Pasamalar' in which Sivaji Ganesan and Savithri acted. He later produced `Annai Illam', `Paaladai' and `Anbalippu'.

I remember my first day of shooting for `Panneer Pushpangal' in Ootacamund. The lead pair was Suresh and Santhi Krishna. The film was a hit, and it gave me and director P. Vasu a good name.

I entered the industry with the intention of becoming a director. I started out as an assistant director to Sridhar with the recommendation of Kannadasan, and worked first in the film `O Manju'. Then, when director Sridhar was doing `Meenava Nanban', P. Vasu joined our unit.

We became good friends. We used to be seen together all the time. So, when we got an opportunity to direct `Panner Pushpangal' we did it together. That was the first time we saw our name together on the screen as Bharathi Vasu. Today we are good friends and meet as often as possible.

`En Uyir Kannamma' was my first film as an actor under director-actor Siva Chandran. I told him that I am not good at delivering dialogues. But, he compelled me to act. Then, in `Michael Madana Kama Rajan' I recited more dialogues. I remember having a lot of apprehensions about it. Both actor Kamal Haasan and the director, Singeetam Srinivasa Rao, put me at ease. In fact, Kamal Haasan helped me perform to the satisfaction of the director. But, today I can deliver long dialogues without any problems.

Along with P. Vasu I directed five films, and on my own I did eight films. I have acted in about 70 films. As far as I am concerned, no role is big or small...

When it comes to direction, my bests are `Panneer Pushpangal', `Guna', `Mahanadhi', and `Chinna Mappilai'. People often associate me with the film `Karagaatakaran'. As for acting, I like `Michael Madana Kama Rajan'. Another favourite is `Anbe Sivam'. The latest is `Varalaru', directed by K.S. Ravi Kumar. I have also acted in half-a-dozen serials.

I am happy for two things. I was the person who introduced Sathyaraj as a hero in `Kadamai Kanniyam Kattuppadu'. I received the best regional film award from the Central Government for `Mahanadhi'. But, my dream is to get the coveted best director award. I am making efforts to make that dream come true.

I will certainly continue acting. I will start on my next directorial venture next year. The star cast and technicians list is being finalised.

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