They were playing Bala’s interview in Vasantham Central TV today. I watched last ten minutes of the interview. He’s regarded as a torch bearer of Tamil cinema and one of the disciples of Balumahendra’s school of filmmaking. Bala, the soft spoken, southie, remains modest though and always attempts something new.
First things first, I was struck by his simplicity the most. The poise with which he answered questions and his way of putting himself under scrutiny when criticizing the Tamil film industry was nice to watch.
Speaking on Balumahendra, Bala says “He is a great director, great photographer, and a fantastic editor. He would know one missing frame of his shots, a talent rare among other directors." He talks about the way Balumahendra uses silence in movies, and about how a good sequence would be glorified by that.
He talks of a sequence in Moondraampirai where Sridevi goes away from the house, Kamal goes out looking for her, it’d be raining outside, he’d have his hands over his eyes to prevent water falling into his eyes, he goes to the Ganapathi temple, he’d stand there gazing at the idol in silence for a while, then goes in search of the girl again, he won't have his hands over his eyes… Bala talks about the reality element of this sequence, the character is getting agitated as time passes and after he doesn’t find her in places she normally visits. This shot was made in one reel, he claims. "I am impressed with that style of movie making" he adds. He seems to have used this in Sethu in the sequence where Vikram proposes.
He talks of Vikram’s role in Pithamagan, about Vikram being more of a friend than an actor for him (his actual words were “avan enakku actor maathiri ellaam kedayathu”); about how Vikram understands his needs and improvises upon it.
When asked about Indian cinema going more visual these days (the interviewer claimed it as a western thing) He claims that everyone should move towards more visual way of telling movies. He claims to be making a conscious effort for that.
The interviewer asked about first scene of Pithamagan being at a graveyard, and about how he dared to do it in the superstition prone kollywood. "I don't believe in superstitions, my producers may. I dont get involved in their starting the film with a poojai or on an auspicious day. But I dont allow them to get involved with the way the movie should be" .
And moreover he prefers a graveyard over a Temple he says. It gives him more peace to mind than a Temple or a place where we can meditate.
Why, it’s a place which conveys the message “nothings forever” in a simple way. I enjoyed his interview.
P.S – Saw Alaipayuthey on TV today. Evano Oruvan's choreography remains haunting. representing the loneliness of the protagonist, it shows rain, gloomy clouds, an umbrella fighting to stay free, a boat lost in the storm, and a solitary bus on the bridge..