Direction Dreams: 'Vijay Sethupathi calls me thambi'
This weekly column brings to you a promising assistant director, and their aspirations and this week it is Meena Marutharasi
Directors worked with: Pon Kumaran, Pushkar-Gayathri
Key responsibilities: Worked on all aspects of filmmaking
Films worked/working on: Raja Rajendra, Vikram Vedha, Hindi remake of Vikram Vedha
Why filmmaking? How did it start ?
I was always inspired by how films connect with people. So I wanted to take up filmmaking. My brother guided me with the nuances of photography and I subsequently learnt editing. Though there was pressure from my family to take up a different profession, I was determined to pursue filmmaking. I even got an offer from the gaming sector but I rejected it. Later I came to know about an opening with Pon Kumaran and met him. That’s how my journey began.
What do you like about the director(s) you’re presently working with?
Pushkar-Gayathri always maintain their cool irrespective of what happens. I feel their success can be attributed to this and their quality of filmmaking stems from this.
What’s the oddest or most memorable thing you have seen or done as an AD?
We were shooting for a sequence for Vikram Vedha on a bridge. I noticed a random lorry was approaching us and instinctively ran to stop it. Vijay Sethupathi noticed that and complimented me on my dedication. He said he was proud to see someone who doesn’t let gender come in the way of doing their job. From that day onwards, he started calling me thambi and even mentioned my name during the success meet.
If not filmmaking, what then?
I would probably taking up game designing.
What do you want to change about Tamil cinema?
I have heard this occurs in numerous camps. Assistant directors are often not called for story and important scene discussions. They are thus not allowed to gain hands-on experience right from the scripting stage. If they are not given this opportunity, then it’s fruitless to designate them to guide with directorial duties.
What’s one area of filmmaking that you were having a tough time with, but are better at now?
Scheduling. There were days when scheduling proved to be a tough task to execute. But with time and experience, I have learnt how to do it.
Who’s the dream cast of your debut film?
Vijay. Also, I think that Hiphop Aadhi would do full justice to one of my scripts.
Debut films are often the result of compromises. What’s one area you will never be willing to compromise on?
I would not mind making compromises with regards to budget and casting. With regards to casting, I don’t think aspiring directors should limit themselves to only one option. One should always consider alternatives. However, I will not make any compromises that might hamper my vision of the film.
What are your future projects?
I have written multiple scripts in genres such as horror, commercial, fantasy, and romance.
What do you think you can bring to Tamil cinema if given an opportunity to direct?
I think animation is an area that is under-explored in our cinema. So I would like to rectify this.