Direction Dreams: 'Velaikkaran is the best film I’ve worked on so far'
This weekly column brings to you a promising assistant director, and their aspirations and this week it is Thamarai Selvan
Thamarai Selvan, assistant director to Mohan Raja, has worked with him on Thani Oruvan and Velaikkaran and his roles and responsibilities include co-ordinating between different departments.
What do you like about Mohan Raja, the director you’re presently assisting?
I love how he integrates elements that focus on social issues. He is a filmmaker with a social conscience and views social issues with a broad perspective.
What have you learned about films from him?
I’ve learnt how to present a social issue with other entertaining elements that not only make the audience feel connected with the issue but also empowered enough to make them believe that any common man can solve it.
What’s one area of filmmaking that you are having a tough time with?
I have had quite a tough time with screenplay writing. But after working with Mohan Raja, I have learnt how to pen a script where each and every character has relevance and importance. I’ve learnt how to write a story where even if one character is removed, the whole story loses its essence.
What would you like to change about Tamil cinema ?
I think one way to make a positive contribution to Tamil cinema is by making good films. That is the best contribution that a director can actually make, because Tamil cinema, especially now, needs films that can satisfy the sensibilities of the audience. Unless a film is good, it is not going to get audiences into the theatres.
Are you star-struck? How did you get over it?
I was, by Fahadh Faasil. I love how he places his belief on intelligent acting. He understands how an aspect of his character should be, how and why his character acts in a specific way, and what the specifics of his character arc are. He is someone who perceives acting as an intelligent virtue and not just about emoting.
Which is the best film you’ve worked on so far?
Undoubtedly Velaikkaran. I say that because of the responsibilities and tasks that had been assigned to me. I had to manage everything from A-Z and I learnt how to patiently handle deviations, when plans don’t materialise.
If you got the opportunity to go back in time and change something in a film that you had worked on, what would it be?
I am one among those who had worked on on the online release of the deleted scenes of Thani Oruvan. There are a few scenes from those which whilst editing, I felt could have featured in the film. I had a strong belief about the inclusion of the scene where Siddharth Abhimanyu steals samosa as a kid. We had a detailed discussion about this. But Mohan Raja convinced us that there is a reason why it should not feature in the final cut.
What’s the oddest thing you’ve done as an AD?
For a scene, Sivakarthikeyan had to walk slowly, owing to his emotional burden. One day while I was on the set, DOP Ramji filmed me walking. Sivakarthikeyan said that would be his reference.